Cuban President, Zarif Discuss Ties, Int’l Issues

Cuban President, Zarif Discuss Ties, Int’l IssuesCuban President, Zarif Discuss Ties, Int’l Issues

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif met Cuba’s President Raul Castro on the first leg of a six-nation tour of Latin American countries.

The meeting took place on Monday in the Cuban capital Havana where the top diplomat arrived on Sunday at the head of a high-ranking politico-economic delegation.

The two statesmen discussed the development of bilateral ties, international and Middle East affairs, as well as the upcoming summit of the Non-Aligned Movement, which is to be held in Venezuela later this year, Press TV reported.

Zarif earlier met with his Cuban counterpart, Bruno Rodriguez, and Minister of Economy and Vice President Ricardo Cabrisas.

In his meeting with Rodriguez, Zarif said Iran and Cuba have proven that the United States has failed to advance its agenda by exerting pressure on the two countries.

“The Iranian nation proved that sanctions imposed by big powers cannot distance it from its policies and viewpoints,” he said.

He added that Iran has always stood by the Cuban nation in countering sanctions and hailed Havana’s support for the Iranian people in the face of brutal US-led bans.

The top Iranian diplomat said Tehran and Havana can boost cooperation on the international scene.

“The two countries have always had common stances on confronting the use of economic force and pressure as well as meddling in the internal affairs of other countries.”

Zarif hoped that Iran and Cuba, as two influential members of NAM, through their cooperation “would succeed in further advancing the objectives” of the body.

  Havana Proud of Tehran’s Gains

The Cuban foreign minister said his country takes pride in Iran’s achievements and successes, and added that Havana is determined to promote its relations with Tehran.

Rodriguez hailed the very good political ties between the two countries at bilateral and international levels.

He reaffirmed Cuba’s supportive stance on Iran’s right to use nuclear energy and said Havana will counter all types of cruel sanctions, particularly in the financial sector.

Iran and Cuba have been the target of various US sanctions over the past decades.

However, sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program were removed under last year’s agreement between Tehran and major powers, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, which went into effect on January 16.

Meanwhile, despite a thaw in diplomatic relations between Washington and Havana, a 55-year embargo on Cuba still remains in place.

The two countries became ideological foes soon after the 1959 revolution that brought Fidel Castro to power and their ties remained hostile even after the end of the Cold War.

Zarif leads a group of 120 businessmen and financial executives from government and private sectors. He arrived in Nicaragua on Monday night on the second leg of his Latin American trip, which will also take him to Ecuador, Chile, Bolivia and Venezuela.