The Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Saturday concluded his much-anticipated maiden 2-day state visit to Uganda. At a press conference shortly before his departure, Mr Ahmadinejad, calling his host President Museveni as “my very good friend” three times within minutes, exalted Ugandans for being warm-hearted and epitomising Africa’s beauty.
Daily Monitor’s senior reporter TABU BUTAGIRA covered Mr Ahmadinejad’s visit and below, reproduces key parts of his speeches – one at a state banquet on Friday and another at the press conference the next day. The Iranian leader never disappointed those who anticipated his tirade against the West over Tehran’s contested nuclear programme:
Dinner speech highlights
“We think it is the right of all nations to use nuclear energy. No one has a right to deny any nation this right. Iran and Uganda both enjoy this purity and integrity and believe in a world of compassion and stand firm against oppression and aggression against any country that thinks only about their own interests.
We are ready to do everything to invade other countries [that] undermine the independence and sovereignty of all nations; plunder and loot resources of other nations and ignore human dignity anywhere and anytime. We shall stand firmly against all these atrocities.
The era of colonialism is over. It has gone to archives of history. Today is the age of justice, respect for human dignity, morality and spirituality and recognising the right of all nations.
I would like to have a short reference to the nuclear issue and energy. I want to offer a short comparison. For the generation of 1,000 megawatts of electricity through fossil fuels in one year period, you need seven million barrels of crude oil. If we can (calculate) that - the price of crude oil is eight dollars a barrel - for 1000 megawatts of electricity, we need 560 million dollars (Shs620b) while nuclear power plant reduces this to 60 million dollars (Shs120b).
In addition, fossil fuels pollute the environment severely.
They (western countries and their allies) want to monopolise nuclear energy and weapons. This is treason and betrayal of mankind. We think it is the right of all nations to use nuclear energy. The main danger to the world is posed by those who have stockpiled nuclear weapons and continue to threaten other nations. The age of double standard policies and games is over. Today, we have the age of independent nations.”
Answer to a question at the press conference why he thinks the world does not believe Tehran nuclear is only for peaceful purpose.
First of all, I would like to thank the almighty God for giving me the chance to be here in this great, beautiful country and meet my very good friend His Excellency Museveni. I wish to express my sincere gratitude for the warm welcome and hospitality accorded by my very good friend. We are really feeling at home here in Uganda. And we are talking and having dialogue with our brothers and friends. Uganda is the complete manifestation of all beauties of Africa (ovation from ministers) - natural and human beauties. And the most important characteristics of people in this country are: the belief in one God, the belief in justice and the belief in beauties and love.
The two countries have been able to establish profound and friendly relationship. During the time with my very good friend, we discussed a wide range of issues; shared opinions and we have common belief in the administration of justice in the international order and relations. We are determined to extend our cooperation in all fields and possible areas.
Today, the entire international community knows that the nuclear issue of Iran has been politicised. It’s not at all a legal issue or a legal problem because Iran has observed all regulations and laws. But Iran has never enjoyed its rights. The nuclear issue in Iran has turned into a big test for the entire world because it’s going to separate those who commit to international law and regulations and those who are not going to abide by it.
The hostility of the United States and the United Kingdom against Iranians are not something new. They defended and supported the war imposed by [late Iraqi president] Saddam Hussein for 8 years. They defend anything which is against the Iranian people and the Iranian nation. Today they are going to use the false pretext of nuclear weapons programme.
They say they are concerned about the building of a nuclear bomb. But they are lying. They have equipped the Zionist state (Israel) with more than 200 nuclear heads. They provide all technical and financial resources for the Zionist regime. They themselves have thousands of nuclear war heads in their arsenals. But they say: We are concerned about the future of Iran’s nuclear programme; maybe if Iran decides to divert from its peaceful purposes! They repeat the same jokes all the time.
We reiterate that our nuclear activities are based on peaceful purposes. They say no, Iran is diverting. We say that in all reports issued by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), they have seen no diversion in Iran nuclear programme. We ask them: What’s your evidence or document that proves your claims? They say we have no evidence but let’s search everywhere in Iran to find the evidence!
The measures that have been taken or are going to be taken by the US and its allies in the (UN) Security Council lack any legal validity. Of course we have previously announced that we are seeking to cooperate and this dialogue must be on the basis of respect and justice. We do not submit to and or accept any kind of pressures. And we don’t follow the illegal decisions. We think by issuing resolutions against us, [US President Barack] Obama will suffer more.
The philosophy of Obama’s coming to power was to make a change in the behaviour of the government of the US. Mr Obama came to power to change and improve the double standards and discriminatory policies of the western countries. The fact that he is going to take decisions against Iranian people is an end to his stature.
In fact those who said Mr Obama is nothing more than a mask will prove to be right. They said Obama came to power to hide the real face and nature of the United States. To continue the same policies of the Bush administrations will certainly remove the new mask. Of course we don’t welcome such a thing. We have made great efforts to help President Obama.
But naturally, we do give all this support with an understanding of justice. While according to laws and the regulations of the IAEA, they have the commitment and obligations to provide the enriched uranium of 20 per cent for our research reactors but we have accepted to exchange fuels with them. The situation has changed now but the principles of the proposal are still on the table.
We hope that President Obama will have a long period of making constructive policies in the country. But he can do so if he remains committed to justice and respect for all. Any policy other than this will not be acceptable (thunderous applause by bureaucrats).
Answer to question on using nuclear technology without foray into weapons manufacture and impact of likely fourth sanctions on Iran’s policy towards Africa.
Our foreign policy about Africa will not change. We are friends with African countries, including Uganda. And we have profound amicable relationships. The major source of concern today is the presence of nuclear arsenals in the West and all American bases throughout the world.
One hundred and eighteen nations of the non-aligned movement have already endorsed Iran’s policies and position as well as other groups in international forum. We think the problem of the world is the continued coercive and intimidating policies of the US because they want to continue monopoling nuclear energy and weapons in the world, deny other nations the peaceful use of nuclear energy and impose their own will on them. A resolution which is going to be based on discrimination has no value. Iran is a powerful and great country. Mr Obama needs us more than we do. So we are not concerned by whatsoever measures of Mr Obama. They are not able to do anything. So we have no worries (ovation).