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U.S. 'Vigilant' As Chavez Claims Iran, Russia Among Those Helping Make Drones

  • RFE/RL

Iran's President Mahmud Ahmadinejad (left) is welcomed by Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez in Caracas in January 2012.

Iran's President Mahmud Ahmadinejad (left) is welcomed by Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez in Caracas in January 2012.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez says his country is building drones with the help of Iran.

In a televised speech to military officers at Venezuela's Defense Ministry, Chavez said that China, Russia, and other countries had also assisted Caracas in producing the aircraft and that the drones are intended for surveillance purposes only.

A military officer who appeared alongside the president said Venezuela has produced three drones so far after engineers were trained in Iran.

Chavez, who is known for his anti-U.S. stance, has maintained close military and other ties with Tehran.

Spanish and U.S. media have recently reported that U.S. officials are aware of the drone project.

U.S. State Department Victoria Nuland said Washington would be "most vigilant in watching how this goes forward."

With additional AFP reporting

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