The dynamic duo of global finance, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Venezuelan jefe Hugo Chavez, cut the ribbon on the Iran-Venezuela Joint Bank today. Speaking in Tehran, Chavez spoke of his economic model: "Capitalism needs to go down. It has to end. And we must take a transitional road to a new model that we call socialism."
Details on the bank, from Reuters:
The Iran-Venezuela Joint Bank, based in Tehran, has an initial capital base of 200 million dollars, with each nation providing half of the funds, the state broadcaster said. The Export Development Bank of Iran, which is under sanctions from the US Treasury, was tasked with creating the joint bank with the Venezuelans.
"The capital will be raised to 1.2 billion dollars with the aim of supporting joint economic, industrial and mining projects as well as speeding up the current projects," the report said. "What happened today represents a strong will to build a new world," Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said, attending the opening ceremony with Chavez.
Iran is under international banking sanctions over its controversial nuclear programme, which the West suspects to be a cover for atomic weapons development although Tehran insists it is purely peaceful.
Chavez, a vocal cheerleader in Latin America for Iran and its nuclear ambitions, was quoted as saying that the two countries should "further strengthen their trade cooperation."
In other Venezuela news, former defense minister Raul Baduel, who helped return Chavez to power in 2002 after a short-lived coup and has since become a fierce critic of the president, was arrested yesterday on "corruption" charges. Baduel says Chavez, who recently demanded the arrest of another political opponent, former presidental candidate Manuel Rosales, is using "the judiciary and other public branches as mercenaries to intimidate."