Photo: Ahmadinejad in Cuba
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad confirmed here Thursday that he held a wide-ranging discussion with former Cuban leader Fidel Castro during his brief stay on the island.
“It has been a cause of great joy for me to see Comandante Fidel safe and sound,” the Iranian told reporters at Havana’s Jose Marti International Airport, where Ahmadinejad was being seen off by Cuban President Raul Castro, Fidel’s successor and younger sibling.
Iran’s president described as “very, very good” his talks with both of the Castros and referred to Raul as “my dear brother.”
“In reality,” Ahmadinejad said, “we (Cuba and Iran) are in a single front struggling with the goal of demanding the rights of the peoples.”
Noting the two countries’ “common positions” on many regional and global issues, he said Tehran and Havana will continue to cooperate in the economic and political realms.
Cuba was the third stop on Ahmadinejad’s whirlwind tour of Latin America, which began Monday in Venezuela, from where the Iranian traveled to Nicaragua.
He will arrive later Thursday in Ecuador.
Ahmadinejad’s sojourn in friendly Latin American countries comes as Washington and its allies have intensified pressure on Iran over its nuclear program.
The United States and Israel say they believe the program has a military component aimed at developing nuclear weapons, while Iran says it is interested only in energy and producing isotopes for medical use.
Inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency have found no evidence of diversion of nuclear materials in Iran.