Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad arrived in Cuba on Wednesday on the third leg of a four country Latin America tour that has included nuke talk with Venezuela's Hugo Chávez and a pit stop at Nicaragua President Daniel Ortega's inauguration. Taking place during a period of increased tension between Iran and the United States over the former's nuclear program, Ahmadinejad's visits have clearly underlined Iran's efforts to build relationships with countries critical of the United States.
Continuing in the same vein in Cuba, Ahmadinejad stressed the failures of what he described as "heartless" U.S.-style capitalism.
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.
- Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, President of Iran
"Thankfully we are already witnessing that the capitalist system is in decay," Ahmadinejad said. "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," he added.
Ahmadinejad, who received an honorary doctorate from the university, did not take questions or talk about a bombing earlier Wednesday in Tehran that killed a nuclear scientist working at Iran's main uranium enrichment facility.
Iran's government blamed the killing on Israel, the U.S. and Britain. The U.S. 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 couldn't 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 U.S. and Israel against Iran could result in a nuclear exchange.
Ahmadinejad began his Latin America tour shortly after Washington imposed tougher sanctions on Tehran over its nuclear program.
Based on reporting by the Associated Press.