May 9, 2001
Cuba seeks Iran help against U.S. 'imperialism'

                  TEHRAN, Iran (Reuters) -- Cuban President Fidel Castro urged Iran on
                  Wednesday to help defeat the United States "as you toppled the shah" in

                  "You overthrew the shah 22 years ago, but there is another shah one thousand
                  times stronger and better armed," he said, referring to the U.S.-backed late Iranian
                  monarch, during a visit to the Islamic republic.

                  "This (new) shah is imperialism, and its main stronghold is only miles away from
                  our border," Castro added.

                  The United States "has military bases and aircraft carriers everywhere and its
                  nuclear warheads are aimed in every direction," he said in a speech to
                  students and faculty members at Tehran University. "But it can be toppled, just
                  like your shah was overthrown."

                  His long speech was interspersed with humorous remarks, which drew applause
                  from more than 700 people packed into a lecture hall, and many more standing
                  outside watching him on closed-circuit television.

                  Castro arrived Monday for a three-day visit as part of a tour of three developing nations.

                  Despite major differences between the theocratic Islamic republic and
                  communist Cuba, the two countries have one thing in common -- the enmity of
                  the United States.

                  Both under U.S. economic sanctions and political pressure, Tehran and Havana
                  advocate a campaign to thwart what they call U.S. "global domination."

                  Castro said Tuesday he wanted to build political ties with Iran, which he hailed
                  as a pioneer for independence and security.

                  Sugar-exporting Cuba and oil-rich Iran have also expressed interest in broadening
                  trade away from traditional exports into new products such as pharmaceuticals
                  and industrial goods.

                  Castro received an honorary doctorate from an Iranian university Wednesday
                  and was due to hold talks with Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, a
                  staunch opponent of the United States, later in the day.

                    Copyright 2001 Reuters.