"The imperialist spokesmen say ... Ahmadinejad and I are going into the Miraflores (presidential palace) basement now to set our sights on Washington and launch cannons and missiles.... It's laughable,” Chavez said, according to the BBC.
Last week the Venezuelan Consul General to Miami was given 72 hours to leave the US amid allegations she was linked to a cyberattack plot targeting the US government. Iran and Cuba were also implicated in the Univision documentary that made the initial accusations.
While US State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland dismissed the trip as "flailing around… to find new friends," some Iran observers worry the trip shows a level of desperation that could cause the country to make erratic and hazardous decisions, CNN reports.
Karim Sadjapour with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace tells CNN "there's a Persian saying that, when you have wild cat trapped in room, leave the door open to let it out."
Sadjapour warns that instability could have devastating consequences. There is "legitimate concern," he says, "that the hardliners in Tehran are purposely trying to provoke some type of a US or Israeli attack on Iran in order to repair Iran's deep internal fissures, both between a disgruntled population against the regime and amongst Iran's political elites themselves."