Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad blasted capitalism during a speech at Cuba's University of Havana on the third leg of a trip to highlight friendship with Latin American allies, most of them at odds with Washington's.
Ahmadinejad held a private meeting later with President Raul Castro and was expected to meet with Fidel Castro before leaving for Ecuador the fourth leg of his Latam tour.
At the university, the Iranian leader railed against the United States and its allies and said heartless capitalism is the root cause of war.
Thankfully we are already witnessing that the capitalist system is in decay said Ahmadinejad. On various stages it has come to a dead end - politically, economically and culturally. You see that when it lacks logic, they turn to weapons to kill and destroy.
Ahmadinejad, who received an honorary doctorate from the university, did not take questions or talk about a bombing earlier in Tehran that killed a nuclear scientist working at Iran's main uranium enrichment facility. Iran's government blamed the killing on Israel, the US and Britain. The US denied involvement.
The Iranian leader spoke warmly of his Cuban hosts, describing the relationship of the two countries as solidarity between two revolutionary peoples, although the two revolutions could not have been more different. Iran's ushered in a religious Islamic government, while Communist Cuba under Fidel Castro was officially atheist for decades.
Nevertheless, Iran and Cuba have found common cause in standing up to Washington. Fidel Castro, who is retired, has repeatedly warned that a confrontation pitting the US and Israel against Iran could result in a nuclear exchange.
Iran has granted several hundred million dollars in credits to Cuba, which the island has used primarily to get new Iranian-made train cars for its deteriorating rail system. Trade between the two countries totalled 27 million dollars in 2009, down from 46 million the previous year, according to the last Cuban government figures available.
The two also share the distinction of being two of the four countries on the US State Department's list of terrorism sponsoring countries, the others being Syria and Sudan.
Ahmadinejad began his Latin America tour shortly after Washington imposed tougher sanctions on Tehran over its nuclear program. He previously visited Venezuela and Nicaragua
US officials have urged Latin American countries not to deepen their ties with Iran. Washington has called the tour a sign of desperation for Iran, which has been heavily sanctioned over its nuclear program. And a State Department spokeswoman accused the Iranian government of being “desperate for friends” and of what she called “flailing around” to find new allies.