Caracas, Aug 22 (efe-epa).- President Nicolás Maduro said on Saturday that it was “not a bad idea” for Venezuela to buy missiles from Iran after his Colombian counterpart Iván Duque warned that Caracas was considering such a plan.
“It’s not a bad idea. Iván Duque, we hadn’t thought about it, really,” Maduro said in a televised meeting with cabinet members, during which he instructed Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino to follow up on the Colombian president’s idea.
Duque said on Thursday that he had “information from international intelligence agencies” that Maduro was considering “to acquire medium and long-range missiles through Iran.”
The Colombian president said the missiles had not yet arrived but Padrino had been put in charge of Venezuela’s “approaches” to Iran for acquiring the weapons.
“When I heard Iván Duque I said: ‘My God, why didn’t we think about it if Iran has tremendous technology,'” Maduro said during the televised broadcast with his cabinet.
“Padrino,” he said, “what a good idea! Talk with Iran and see what missiles they have for short, medium, and long range. And see if it is within our possibilities, given the great relationships we have with Iran.”
Maduro said it would not be illegal to buy Iranian missiles because Venezuela “does not have a prohibition on buying” weapons.
“If Iran has the possibility of selling us a bullet or a missile, and we have the possibility of buying it, good idea, Iván Duque, approved, I am going to do it, we are going to do it, we have to study it.”
Maduro reminded his Colombian counterpart that Venezuela had “the most advanced” and “comprehensive” weapon systems in Latin America and the Caribbean bought from Russia for years.
However, it was not clear if Venezuela really intends to acquire Iranian missiles or if Maduro was only jokingly responding to Duque’s statement.
Venezuela and Colombia share a porous 2,200-km (nearly 1,400 miles) border where militants, smugglers, and drug traffickers operate. The two countries broke off diplomatic relations in 2019.
Colombia is part of a group of over 50 countries that recognize Juan Guaidó as the “legitimate” president of Venezuela. EFE-EPA