Harare: Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has condemned "satanic pressures" on Zimbabwe and his own country which he said were fighting to maintain their sovereignty, during a visit to Harare.
"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.
"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."
Mugabe backs Iran's N-programme
Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe has said he backed Iran's nuclear programme, which has raised the threat of new UN sanctions against the Islamic state.
"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."
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 in 2009 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 controversial elections.
Ahmadinejad also accused the UN Security Council of bowing to pressure from unnamed "powerful countries”.
"Unfortunately, the UN Security Council has been serving the interests of powerful countries. They use this Security Council to increase pressure on other countries," he said.
Ahmadinejad arrived in Zimbabwe yesterday 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 in a statement.
"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 UNSC 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.
First Published: Friday, April 23, 2010, 09:45