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By Arnold Mutemi in Bulawayo
April 24, 2010 - The Herald
Zimbabwe and Iran will stand firm against oppression by imperialist countries, the President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has said.
Officially opening the 51st edition of the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair, at which the largest number of exhibitors were from Iran, President Ahmadinejad said all nations had the right to decide their own destiny.
In a speech delivered in Farsi and translated into English by an interpreter, Mr Ahmadinejad said all nations were supposed to live in a world full of prosperity and brotherhood with a respect for rights.
In apparent reference to the West, President Ahmadinejad said some countries wanted to take possession and control of resources in other countries.
"Some oppressors and arrogant states have taken a role to deprive people of their rights.
"Today, they are trying to possess and control world resources. They don’t want nations to achieve peace and prosperity.
"But the world’s nations — including Zimbabwe and Iran — have decided to stand firm and not let injustice and impoverishment continue.
"We believe in common principles. All nations are respected and beloved by their creator God- the Merciful, the Compassionate," he said. President Ahmadinejad added: "All governments have a right to decide their own destiny, to use their own resources for progress and nobody is entitled to decide for them. Independence is the basis of glory for all nations."
Zimbabwe and Iran have both courted the West’s ire because they dared insist on their sovereignty and taking control of their resources.
Iran is under fire for enriching uranium for civilian energy purposes.
Zimbabwe has been under attack for embarking on the revolutionary Fast Track Land Reform Programme a decade ago.
President Ahmadinejad said Zimbabwe and Iran were "side-by-side and in one line" because they believed in "decency, purity and respect for all nations".
He said he came to officially open the ZITF because Zimbabwe and Iran shared common goals.
President Ahmadinejad called on developing countries to enhance South-South co-operation.
"Africa has everything. The only thing it should do is discover talent. We should believe in our own capabilities," he said.
The Iranian president said developing countries had bitter experiences of interventions by big powers that seized markets in poorer countries and destroyed them.
He said ZITF presented an opportunity for Zimbabwe, Iran and other participating countries to boost economic ties.
"Now our hearts are closer; we should develop in the field of economy and cultural communication between the people and nations should increase," he said.
President Ahmadinejad said Zimbabwe and Iran would increase co-operation in agriculture, science and technology.
Industry and Commerce Minister Professor Welshman Ncube said President Ahmadinejad’s visit would strengthen bilateral relations.
ZITF chairman Mr Bhekithemba Nkomo said the annual event presented exhibitors with various opportunities.
He, however, said the benefits of participating at the fair would only be realised if exhibitors made follow-ups on contacts made during the five-day event.
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