Iran, Cuba agree on 'peaceful use of nuclear energy'

Iran, Cuba agree on 'peaceful use of nuclear energy'

HAVANA - Agence France-Presse
Iran, Cuba agree on peaceful use of nuclear energy

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (L) and his Cuban counterpart Raul Castro (R) talk during a meeting at State Council in Havana on January 11, 2012. AFP photo

Cuba and Iran highlighted the "right of all nations to the peaceful use of nuclear energy" during a visit by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to the communist-ruled island.

The statement, issued by Cuban President Raul Castro and Ahmadinejad and read on official Cuban TV late Wednesday, appeared to be an implicit swipe at the Western-led campaign against Tehran's suspect nuclear program.

The Iranian leader arrived in Cuba for talks with Castro as the Islamic republic blamed Israel and the United States for the killing of a nuclear scientist in a Tehran car bombing.

The scientist's killing heightened already high tensions with the West over Iran's nuclear program, but a defiant Ahmadinejad flashed the victory sign several times after landing in Havana.

During a meeting with students at the University of Havana, Ahmadinejad said capitalism was a system "in decay" and criticized the United States without directly referring to the increasingly tense nuclear standoff.

Cuba and Iran share similar positions in international organizations, with Tehran condemning the half-century US trade embargo against Cuba and Havana recognizing Iran's right to develop nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.

The United States and its allies have accused Iran of trying to develop nuclear weapons in the guise of a peaceful enrichment program, charges denied by Tehran.