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Venezuela, Iran seek to boost dialogue within OPEC

Posted: August 16, 2011 - 6:24pm

CARACAS, Venezuela — The presidents of Venezuela and Iran have agreed to work together within OPEC as economic concerns weigh on world oil prices, the Venezuelan government said Tuesday.

President Hugo Chavez spoke with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad by telephone Monday, and the two agreed on the need to coordinate more closely in OPEC, Venezuela’s Foreign Ministry said. It cited the “ominous effects of the crisis in the dominant powers’ economies.”

It also said the leaders agreed to instruct their oil ministers to maintain “fluid and constant communication.”

Venezuela and Iran have traditionally favored efforts to boost oil prices within the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.

Oil prices declined Tuesday amid concerns about sluggish growth in Germany and economic troubles in Europe. Benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude for September delivery declined $1.23 to finish at $86.65 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Chavez and Ahmadinejad also discussed the conflicts in Libya and Syria. They plan to closely follow the situation in those countries and deepen efforts “to achieve peace,” the Foreign Ministry’s statement said, without elaborating.

Chavez has put an emphasis on building strong ties with Iran in recent years. He has also been a staunch defender of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi.

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