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Mugabe backs Iran nuclear programme



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By Staff Reporter

ZIMBABWEAN President Robert Mugabe on Friday accused the West of hypocrisy for condemning Iran's nuclear programme and described the U.S-led military campaign in Iraq as "genocide".

Mugabe, himself at odds with the West over his forcible redistribution of white-owned farms and allegations of human rights abuse, said only those countries without nuclear weapons could sit in judgement over Iran.

Speaking to visiting Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki, Mugabe said:

"There are those who are accusing you of what you do not have ... also accusing you of an intention which perhaps you do not have of wanting to have nuclear arms.

"And they have the nuclear arms, they have nuclear bombs, they have used them. Who is judging them for the genocide they committed, the genocide they are committing in Iraq today?" he said in remarks broadcast on Zimbabwe's state television.

The U.S and other Western nations accuse Iran of seeking to master enrichment technology to build atomic weapons, a charge Iran denies.

Mugabe, 82 and in power since Zimbabwe's independence from Britain in 1980, says the former colonial power and the U.S. have led a propaganda campaign against his country.

"We believe in a free world ... where we do not have demagogues and international dictators who want to control our political systems in order for them to control our economies," he said on Friday.

Mugabe has sought to strengthen ties with Asian and Middle Eastern countries in recent years under what he calls a "Look East policy.

He charges that his local and foreign opponents have sabotaged Zimbabwe's economy as payback for his land reforms, which he argues were necessary to restore land 'stolen' from indigenous blacks during colonialism - Reuters
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