Castro praises brave Iranian nation for defying imperialism

February 20, 2006
HAVANA (Agencies) -- President Fidel Castro has offered "firm support" for Iran's right to pursue a nuclear energy program, Cuba's media reported Sunday.

Castro met with Gholam-Ali Haddad-Adel, the speaker of Iran's parliament, in the Palace of the Revolution, for four hours as the Iranian official on Saturday wrapped a two-day visit to the Communist island nation.

Castro offered "Cuba's firm support for Iran's right to use nuclear issues for peaceful ends" according to a statement published in the Juventud Rebelde and other media.

The meeting underscored the "excellent bilateral ties and political dialogue" enjoyed by Havana and Tehran, and also allowed the two leaders to explore "the broad potential for economic relations," AFP quoted the newspaper as saying.

According to the IRNA news agency, Castro said Iran enjoys great power in the Middle East region and the world, adding it is ready to defend itself by relying on its nation and deep-rooted culture.

He stressed that the U.S. cannot harm Iran which has a brave and united nation.

The Cuban president said that the U.S. has suffered a defeat in Iraq and should withdraw from the country, adding that U.S. President George W. Bush is a liar whose outlook is dangerous for the future of the world.

The Iranian parliament speaker called for closer cooperation between Tehran and Havana.

"There is complete friendship and confidence between the two countries. Iran and Cuba, as two revolutionary states, have a common enemy.

"The two states should focus on their potentials to serve their nations," Haddad-Adel said as carried by IRNA.

He told Castro, "You should realize how much angry the United States has been with the victory of the Islamic Revolution in Iran (in 1979).

"It has been looking for a pretext to put Iran under pressure since the victory of the Islamic Revolution. The Iraqi-imposed war against Iran was among its consequences."

He expressed hope that scientific and cultural cooperation between the two nations would receive a further boost and bilateral cooperation would turn into multilateral cooperation regarding Iran's position in the Middle East region and Cuba's role among Latin American states.

"Your path has been continued. Factors behind the Cuban revolution have spread to Latin America in other forms. These are outcomes of resistance against U.S. imperialism," he told the Cuban president.

Haddad-Adel conveyed the warm greetings of Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, President Mahmud Ahmadinejad, Majlis deputies, and the Iranian nation to the Cuban president and nation.