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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Chavez Uses Iran Visit to Build Business Ties, Multipolar World

TEHRAN, Iran -- Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his Venezuelan counterpart, Hugo Chavez, broke ground Monday on a joint petrochemical complex south of Tehran, the official state news agency reported.

The complex, located in Assaluyeh, some 1,300 kilometers south of Tehran, will produce more than 1.6 million tons of methanol when finished, the agency reported.

"The nations of Iran and Venezuela develop their countries and try to form a new world for themselves and other free nations," Ahmadinejad said during the ceremony, the agency reported.

Chavez followed by saying, "We want to unite and create a multipolar world."

Ownership in the complex is almost evenly divided, with 51 percent belonging to Iran and 49 percent to Venezuela. The countries will begin construction on a second complex in Venezuela soon, at a total combined cost of $1.4 billion.

Earlier Monday, the presidents inaugurated a wholly owned Iranian petrochemical complex in the same area, with a production capability of more than 4.5 million tons, the agency said.

The countries have said their petrochemical partnership will help Iran access markets in Latin America and Venezuela those in India.

Ties between Iran and Venezuela have been growing stronger, with both leaders strongly condemning U.S. policies. Chavez has defended Iran's disputed nuclear program, dismissing Washington's concerns that Tehran is secretly trying to develop atomic weapons.

Later Monday, during a press conference broadcast on Iranian state television, Chavez held Ahmadinejad's hand and said, "Washington will get angry when it sees we are hand in hand."