Rouhani meets Fidel Castro, calls Iran, Cuba symbols of resistance

September 20, 2016

TEHRAN – Iranian President Hassan Rouhani held talks on Monday with Fidel Castro in Havana, where he called Iran and Cuba symbols of resistance against the “strictest sanctions”.

“The U.S. imposed the strictest economic sanctions against Cuban people’s revolution and the Iranian nation resisted during the eight years of imposed war [Iraq’s war against Iran in the 1980s] while the East and the West helped the aggressor. So, Iran and Cuba are the symbols of resistance against the strictest sanctions,” Rouhani told the former Cuban leader.

Rouhani also said, “I am happy that my first trip to Latin America has started from Cuba which is the symbol of fight and resistance against imperialism in this continent.”

He also said that the Iranian people were adamant in their endeavor for economic development despite the Western-led cruel sanctions and pressures on the country for its nuclear program.

For his part, Castro praised the Iranian people’s resistance against sanctions, saying this resistance originates from public “awareness and cultural growth”.

The standoff between Iran and the Western countries, particularly the United States, have abated as Tehran and major powers (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany) signed landmark deal over Iran’s nuclear program in July 2015. The deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), went into force in January.

Similarly, Washington has eased decades-long sanctions against Cuba. U.S. President Barack Obama also visited Cuba in March 2016, becoming the first American president to visit Cuba in nearly a century. It was the first since a revolution led by Fidel Castro toppled a U.S.-backed strongman in 1959. 
 
Rouhani says it is essential to expand Iran-Cuba co-op 

During a meeting of the high ranking officials of Cuba and Iran on Monday in which Cuban President Raul Castro was also present, Rouhani also suggested that it is essential to expand Iran-Cuba cooperation.

“Level of joint cooperation in various areas especially the economic sphere should be promoted through using the post-JCPOA atmosphere and capacities in the two countries,” Rouhani explained.

He added that Iran and Cuba should expand cooperation in the area of new technologies especially nanotechnology and biotechnology which would lead to an increase in independent countries’ power against the domineering powers.

Rouhani added, “Cuba has always been a close friend to Iran in the international community and this friendship and unity benefit the two nations and this should continue on international issues.” 

Elsewhere, he said that some countries seek to fuel regional crises to sell arms and harm the global economy.

Raul Castro said that war and conflicts have turned into a “profitable trade” for some countries.

He also highlighted the importance of deepening ties between the two countries.

The Iranian and Cuban presidents also oversaw the signing of a number of memorandums of understanding in health, pharmaceutical, and educational areas.

Rouhani took the tour of Cuba after attending the NAM summit in Venezuela, where he delivered the rotating presidency of the 120-nation bloc to Caracas.

After Cuba Rouhani was to head to New York for the annual UN General Assembly conference.

NA/PA

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