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Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez (left) and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (right) - 


Scott Jagow: A couple of oil-rich countries announced this week they're joining together to launch a development bank. Those countries: Iran and Venezuela. From the Americas Desk at WLRN, Marketplace's Dan Grech reports on these strange bedfellows.

Dan Grech: At first glance, Iran and Venezuela don't appear to have much in common. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez calls himself a 21st century socialist. Meanwhile:

Michael McFaul: The mullahs in Iran are not leftists. I mean, these guys are very conservative. But what they share is this anti-Americanism.

That's Michael McFaul, a political science professor at Stanford University. He says Venezuela and Iran have cemented their political alliance through joint ventures in energy, agriculture, even physical education.

McFaul: It's a bit reminiscent to me of the Cold War, where you have these states joining together, believing that they're fighting some ideological struggle against the United States.

The new bi-national development bank will be based in Tehran and have $1.2 billion in start-up funds. It'll finance projects in areas such as infrastructure, housing, and technology.

I'm Dan Grech for Marketplace.