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
our border," Castro added.
The United States "has military bases and aircraft carriers everywhere
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
as a pioneer for independence and security.
Sugar-exporting Cuba and oil-rich Iran have also expressed interest in
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.