HARARE, Zimbabwe – President Robert Mugabe, on an official visit to Iran, vowed to back Iran against what he called Western interference in that country's affairs, the state media in Zimbabwe reported Tuesday.
Mugabe arrived in Tehran on Monday for talks with Iranian leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at the start of a four-day state visit.
"Iran and Zimbabwe think alike. Some people who regard themselves as demigods say we belong to the axis of evil. Who are they to judge us?" Mugabe said, the state Herald newspaper reported.
Criticizing U.S. President George W. Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Mugabe said like-minded "revolutionaries" were unjustly condemned for defending their independence and sovereignty.
"We have a fight to put up against these evil men and their evil systems," Mugabe said. "Countries who think alike must come together and work out mechanisms to defend ourselves."
Zimbabwe, suffering its worst economic crisis since independence from Britain in 1980, became increasingly isolated after Mugabe's program to seize thousands of white-owned commercial farms began in 2000.
Iran is embroiled in a dispute with Western nations over its program to enrich uranium it says is to develop nuclear energy.
Ahmadinejad told Mugabe the two countries held common views in international relations, The Herald said.
"Both countries are against Western hegemony and control by arrogant powers. Both have been damaged in the past by this hegemony," he said.
The two leaders were scheduled to witness the signing of political and trade agreements Tuesday.
Earlier this year, Mugabe said Zimbabwe was seeking international partners to exploit some uranium deposits in his southern African nation. Mining of those deposits, first found by German geologists more than four decades ago, had long been considered uneconomic.
Iran is scheduled to supply electronic equipment to Zimbabwe state radio and television, the nation's sole broadcaster.
Zimbabwe is facing acute shortages of hard currency, imports, gasoline and food.
Western aid and investment dried up during the often-violent land-seizure program that disrupted the agriculture-based economy driven mainly by the descendants of colonial-era British settlers.
Mugabe later announced a "Look East" policy to garner economic and diplomatic ties with China and allies in Asia and the Middle East.