Iran, Venezuela to launch joint development bank

Iran has announced it is reviewing the launch of a joint development bank with Venezuela. “Iran and Venezuela have positive cooperation and are currently reviewing the launch of a joint bank after five meetings held on this issue so far,” Venezuelan Planning and Development Minister Haiman El Troudi told Iran’s Mehr News in Isfahan on the sidelines of a meeting of the OPEC Fund for International Development.

A sixth meeting to further assess the project will be held next year in Iran, El Troudi said. The new development bank would be based in Tehran and would have $1.2 billion available in initial investment funds to finance projects in areas such as infrastructure, housing and technology.

In recent years, Iran has assisted Venezuela in the construction of food plants, cement factories and housing construction. The Islamic Republic has also exported tractors to Venezuela and manufactured bicycles there.

El Troudi said that by the end of 2008, over 30 joint industrial projects with Iran will be underway in Venezuela, including an auto manufacturing plant with an estimated capacity to produce 10,000 vehicles a year. (Tehran Times, June 19)

Interesting that just as this deal is announced, the US makes new charges about Hezbollah activity in Venezuela.

See our last posts on Iran and Iran’s Latin American strategy.