Iran and Venezuela on Thursday vowed to further strengthen ties and find common ways to cope with the global economic crisis, the official IRNA news agency reported.

"A ten-year plan for the two countries'' ties as well as a plan to combat the global crisis will be drawn up in this visit," Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was quoted as saying in a meeting with visiting Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez Chavez.

"Iran and Venezuela ties have introduced a common revolutionary front ... in the world," Ahmadinejad said, vowing the two countries will "continue to stand by each other".

Chavez arrived on his sixth visit to Tehran on Wednesday after an Arab-South American summit in Doha.

The leftist leader said the two countries should "further strengthen their trade cooperation," IRNA reported.

Local media have reported that an Iranian-Venezuelan bank will be launched on Friday.

Iran and Venezuela, whose outspoken president has turned into a hero figure for many in the Middle East, have forged increasingly strong ties based on their opposition to the United States.

Chavez is a vocal cheerleader in Latin America for Iran and its nuclear programme, which the West suspects to be a cover for weapons development although Tehran insists it is purely peaceful.

Venezuela expelled the ambassador of Iran''s arch-foe Israel from Caracas in January to protest the Israeli offensive in the Gaza Strip that left more than 1,300 Palestinians dead.