Iranian FM Zarif: Venezuela must resist US interventionist policies

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Everywhere the US goes, it “fosters extremism and terrorism,” Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Saturday upon his arrival to Venezuela, where he is set to attend the Ministerial Meeting of the Coordinating Bureau of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), the semi-official Mehr news agency reported.

“Anywhere the US sets foot in, it creates instability. Today, through its presence in the [Arabian] Gulf, the Middle East and South America, America has created insecurity in those regions,” said Zarif.

“We do not know of a place where US presence has brought stability,” he said.

Prior to leaving New York on Friday, Zarif said that South American countries must “resist the US’s interventionist policies.”

“We have to see what the Islamic Republic can do to help restore calm to Venezuela,” Zarif said, adding: “We will hold talks with Venezuelan officials regarding economic cooperation during this trip.”

Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó challenged President Nicolás Maduro’s authority in January by declaring himself acting president after heightened protests and violence. Tension had been mounting ever since.

Despite the support of more than 50 countries, Guaidó has been unable to dislodge Maduro, whom the opposition has branded a “usurper” over his re-election last year in a poll widely believed to have been rigged.

Iran has stood by Maduro, offering to send Iranian Revolutionary Guard (IRGC) troops to protect him.

Zarif, who will pay visits to Nicaragua and Bolivia for bilateral meetings after Venezuela, said that he will hold talks with the officials of those countries about political and economic cooperation.

“We have very good friends in South America,” he said.

“South American countries have been good political and economic partners to the Islamic Republic in the past year,” said Zarif, adding that Iran has several projects in Bolivia, which are in the interest of the Bolivian people.

“On this trip, we will meet with the presidents, foreign ministers and other officials of these countries and we will hold talks about how to continue the cooperation,” he said.

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