Relations under Khatami and Chávez

Seeking to oppose the U.S., Chávez brought Venezuela closer to Iran. He first traveled to Iran as head of state in 2000, and Khatami reciprocated in the same year. This was the first time an Iranian president had traveled to Venezuela. In May 2001, Chávez again traveled to Tehran and expressed his interest in cooperating on oil production cuts, prompting Iran’s leaders to begin to see value in a partnership. During his time in office, President Khatami traveled to Venezuela three times and presided over the signing of a bilateral free trade agreement and launching joint initiatives in the tractor, cement, and automobile industries. During a state visit in 2005, following the signing of 22 agreements in energy and infrastructure cooperation, Chávez awarded Khatami the "Collar of the Order of the Liberator” and issued support for Iran’s pursuit of a nuclear program.