BULAWAYO – Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Friday accused Western powers of attempting to seize control of other countries for their own interests, saying his country will stand firm alongside Zimbabwe against such injustice.
Ahmedinejad who was guest of honour at the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) said it was important for all nations to stand firm against the arrogant behaviour of the big powers.
“Today they are trying to control world resources and they do not want to let other countries have peace and prosperity,” Ahmedinejad said, adding; “The countries of the world have noticed this, Zimbabwe and Iran have decided to stand firm against the arrogance and the injustice.”
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, who prefers closer ties with rich Western countries with the cash to help bankroll reconstruction of Zimbabwe’s shattered economy snubbed the Iranian leader by embarking on a regional trip to South Africa and Botswana. Government officials from his MDC party also boycotted the official opening of the ZITF.
Ahmedinejad – who arrived in Zimbabwe on Thursday for a two-day state visit and like Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe has courted the ire of Western nations because of his blotted human rights record and controversial nuclear programme – also said nations need to defend their sovereignty and be able to decide their own destiny.
“God gave us the sun and the moon, he also created love, passion and spiritual resources unfortunately some of the oppressors do not understand these rules, they have bad behaviour and they let slavery to be prevalent in this world. Justice is the basis for transaction between countries and all governments have rights to decide their own destiny, they have to use their own resources and no one is allowed to decide for them,” Ahmedinejad said.
The Iranian leader, who first toured stands at the ZITF before addressing thousands of Zimbabweans said Iran is determined to help Zimbabwe in sectors such as agriculture, industry, tourism and science and technology.
He also said the holding of trade fairs is fruitful as it expands cooperation between countries. A total of 40 Iranian companies are exhibiting at the ZITF which ends today.
Zimbabwe’s long time ruler Mugabe and Ahmadinejad – the world’s most reviled leaders – enjoy close anti-Western ties.
Mugabe and his close ZANU PF party associates are under targeted Western sanctions for alleged human rights abuses and election irregularities while Iran is also facing pressure from the West to suspend uranium enrichment, a process that can produce either a nuclear warhead or fuel for a nuclear reactor.
The Iranian strongman – whose visit to Zimbabwe widened rifts within the Harare coalition government, with Tsvangirai's MDC describing Mugabe's decision to invite Ahmadinejad as a "colossal political scandal" – also slammed the West as “satanic” at a banquet held for him by Mugabe at State House after his arrival Thursday.
“Unfortunately the United Nations Security Council, which is supposed to serve the whole world, has been used by the powerful as an instrument to increase pressure on our countries . . . I condemn all Satanic pressures imposed on Zimbabwe and these powerful countries are doomed, they will not be successful," he said.
Mugabe during the same function said he backed Iran’s controversial nuclear programme – a statement likely to further isolate Zimbabwe which is looking to restore full relations with the United States and the European Union. – ZimOnline