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Chavez speaks up in defence of Iran

world Updated: Mar 26, 2007 13:16 IST

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Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has called on nations around the world to help stop what he says is a planned US attack on Iran.

Chavez, speaking one day after the UN Security Council voted to tighten sanctions on Iran over Tehran's refusal to curtail its nuclear programme, cited a Russian press report, which purportedly details the time and place of attack on Iran by the United States, which he has dubbed "the empire".

"The empire is moving aircraft carriers and has been moving troops on Iran," said Chavez, speaking on his broadcast programme Hello, Mr President on Sunday.

Hopefully the world "will halt this imperial craziness of attacking whomever it pleases.

Hopefully the Congress of the United States, the United Nations and the most powerful countries of the world can halt this madness of the American empire," said Chavez.

Today it may be Iran, Chavez said, "but tomorrow it could be Belarus, Venezuela, or anyone they dislike."

Chavez is a close ally of Cuba's Fidel Castro and a vehement critic of US President George W Bush.