There has been much hype about Ahmadinejad’s push into the region, but this is by no means a new relationship, in Venezuela or elsewhere.
Iran has shown interest in Latin America since the turn of the last century, reaching out to Argentina, Brazil, and Mexico. Iran's relationship with Venezuela dates back to the 1960s – so Ahmadinejad's five visits to Venezuela since 2007 are not indicative of much. Venezuela and Iran are founding members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and the Shah, interested in the developing world, reached out to Latin America, says Stephen Johnson, director of the Americas Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. “The ties go way back,” he says.