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War vets battle dispair
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Harare - Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Thursday condemned "satanic pressures" on Zimbabwe and his own country, both of which he said were fighting to maintain their sovereignty.
"Iran and Zimbabwe are two countries that continue the effort to maintain their sovereignty and freedom," Ahmadinejad said at a dinner with Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe in Harare.
"Of course, our strength had provoked the hostility of expansionist countries," he said. "Here, I condemn all pressures, all satanic pressures, pressures on the government and people of Zimbabwe."
"We believe victory is ours and humiliation and defeat for our enemies," he said.
"Of course, they have failed to reach their objectives and results. They had imagined they could change the directions of our nations. Our nations stood firm."
Both Ahmadinejad and Mugabe are known for their controversial policies and anti-Western rhetoric.
Both men have also clung to power through elections marred by violence and allegations of fraud - Ahmadinejad after a bloody presidential election last year and Mugabe after sharply criticised polls in 2002 and 2008.
Ahmadinejad currently faces the threat of new United Nations sanctions over Iran's nuclear programme, while Mugabe is accused of not honouring a power-sharing agreement reached last year after the controversial elections.
Mugabe backs Iran's nuclear programme
Mugabe backed Iran's nuclear programme and joined Ahmadinejad in denouncing the sanctions.
"Be also assured, comrade president, of Zimbabwe's continuous support of Iran's just cause on the nuclear issue," Mugabe told Ahmadinejad at a dinner in Harare.
"Because of the principled positions we have taken at both the domestic and international level, Zimbabwe and Iran have been unjustly vilified and punished by Western countries," Mugabe said.
"Today, both are victims of illegal and unjustified sanctions imposed by Western countries who seek to undermine our sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity."
Ahmadinejad arrived in Zimbabwe on Thursday for trade talks with Mugabe, a visit denounced as a "colossal political scandal" by the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), Mugabe's partner in a fractious unity government.
"Inviting the Iranian strongman to an investment forum is like inviting a mosquito to cure malaria," the party said.
Visit an insult - MDC
"Ahmadinejad's visit is not only an insult to the people of Zimbabwe, but an affront to democracy and to the oppressed people of Iran."
Ahmadinejad's trip is part of an Africa tour also scheduled to include a visit to UN Security Council member Uganda, where he will discuss Iran's nuclear programme, according to Iranian state television.
The trip gains significance as world powers have stepped up pressure for a new round of UN sanctions against Iran.
Uganda currently holds one of the rotating seats on the Security Council.
Iran's Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki has said Tehran plans to open talks with all 15 Security Council members in an effort to break a deadlock on a nuclear fuel supply deal that has put it at odds with Western powers.
In Zimbabwe, the Iranian leader is also due to sign various trade agreements and launch a series of joint ventures between the two countries in the agriculture, manufacturing and mining sectors.
On Friday he is set to open an international trade fair in Zimbabwe's second city of Bulawayo.
Zimbabwe enjoys good relations with Iran as well as several east Asian countries after Mugabe launched a "Look East" policy in response to isolation by the West following Harare's controversial land reforms and disputed 2002 elections.