THE VISIT: Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is visiting Iran for talks expected to focus on boosting cooperation between the countries' oil, gas and petrochemical industries. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad greeted Chavez at the presidential palace, Iranian state TV reported.
THE BACKGROUND: Chavez is on his ninth visit to Iran as president. He has backed Iran in its confrontation with Western powers over Tehran's disputed nuclear program.
THE PURPOSE: Chavez said Iranian and Venezuelan officials were working on new cooperative accords, but gave no details. Past cooperative agreements have seen Iran provide assistance for projects including building public housing, bicycles and tractors in Venezuela.