Iranian vice president visits Cuba

HAVANA: Iranian Vice President Ali Saeedlu began an official visit to Cuba Monday, following up on a trip to the communist-ruled island earlier this year by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Saeedlu, Ahmadinejad's deputy for international affairs, will hold "official talks" with his counterpart Jose Ramon Machado, the Iranian embassy told AFP, without specifying his length of stay or topics of discussion.

The visit comes five months after Ahmadinejad's trip to Havana to meet with President Raul Castro and his brother, former leader Fidel Castro, who stood down from the leadership over health issues in 2006.

On that trip the two leaders signed statements affirming the "right of all nations to the peaceful use of nuclear energy."

Cuba and Iran share similar positions in international organizations, with Tehran condemning the half-century US trade embargo against Cuba and Havana recognizing Iran's right to develop nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.

The United States and its allies have accused Iran of trying to develop nuclear weapons in the guise of a peaceful enrichment program. Tehran denies the charge.





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