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Venezuela, Iran Pledge Closer Cooperation Within OPEC

Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad (right) and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez (file photo)
The presidents of Venezuela and Iran have pledged to tighten their cooperation within the OPEC oil cartel, as concerns about world economic growth continue to pull down oil prices.

Venezuela's government said President Hugo Chavez spoke by telephone late on August 15 with Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad.

The Venezuelan Foreign Ministry said the two leaders agreed on the need to coordinate more closely within OPEC, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, to study what the statement called the "ominous effects" of the economic crisis on the economies of the dominant world powers.

No further details were given on what Iran and Venezuela hope to achieve.

Oil prices declined again on August 16, with crude for September delivery closing at $86.65 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

The Venezuelan statement also said Chavez and Ahmadinejad denounced what it called Western "imperialist aggression" in the Libyan and Syrian conflicts, and pledged efforts by Iran and Venezuela to achieve peace in those countries.

compiled from agency reports