Ahmadinejad Gives Venezuela's Chavez Iran's Highest National Medal

Iran awarded Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez its highest state medal on Sunday for supporting Tehran in its nuclear standoff, state-run television reported.

"The medal was awarded as an expression of gratitude for Chavez's support for Iran's stance on the international scene, especially its opposition to a resolution by the International Atomic Energy Agency," the station said.

In February, Venezuela opposed an IAEA decision to report Iran to the U.N. Security Council over its disputed nuclear program.

CountryWatch: Venezuela

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad presented Chavez with the Islamic Republic Medal in a ceremony at Tehran University.

"He is the one who has resisted imperialism for years and has defended the interests of his and other Latin American countries," Ahmadinejad was quoted as saying.

Chavez arrived in Tehran on Saturday for an official two-day visit.

A draft proposal Friday by permanent members of the U.N. Security Council gives Iran until the end of August to suspend uranium enrichment or face the threat of economic and diplomatic sanctions.

The U.S. and some of its allies accuse Iran of seeking nuclear weapons. Tehran maintains its program is purely peaceful and aimed at generating electricity.