Below is an excerpt from a speech Fidel Castro gave at the University of Havana on Nov. 17, 2005, at a time when Washington and its allies were intensifying their campaign of economic sanctions and military threats against the government of Iran over its nuclear program.
Castro, then president of Cuba, takes a position reflecting the morals and historic interests of the international working class, unconditionally siding with Iran in face of imperialist hostility and championing the right and necessity of nations oppressed by imperialism to develop nuclear power. At the same time, he explains the Cuban revolutionary government’s longstanding opposition to nuclear weapons. The rejection of any military tactics that could lead to the slaughter of innocent people is a matter of proletarian morality, which has, without any exception, distinguished the Cuban Revolution from its inception.
In March 2005 Washington had won the backing of London, Paris and Berlin for a coordinated plan, including sanctions, to step up pressure on Tehran. Around the same time, the London Sunday Times reported that the Israeli government had been practicing simulated attacks on Iran’s nuclear sites.
In September 2005 the U.N. nuclear energy agency ruled that Tehran was in “non-compliance” with provisions of the Non-Proliferation Treaty and that there was an “absence of confidence that Iran’s nuclear program is exclusively for peaceful purposes.”
Translation of the excerpts from Castro’s speech is by the Militant.
We know that country very well. It is a country with 70 million inhabitants bent on industrial development and believing, quite correctly, that it is a great crime to use its gas or oil reserves to feed the potential of thousands of millions of kilowatt hours urgently needed by this Third World country for its industrial development. And the empire is there wanting to ban this and threatening to bomb them. There is already an international debate on what day and at what time a surprise pre-emptive attack will be launched on the research centers for production of nuclear fuel and on whether it will be the empire that does it, or its satellite Israel as was the case in Iraq. …
The U.S. is trying to secure possession of oil by any means possible, in any corner of the world. However, that source of energy is running low and in 25 or 30 years, there will only be one fundamental energy source for the mass production of electricity—aside for some solar and wind power, etc.—nuclear energy.
The day is far away when hydrogen could become a more suitable fuel, through technology that is at its beginnings. Meanwhile, mankind has reached a certain level of technical development and cannot live without fuel. This is a current problem.
Our Minister of Foreign Affairs has just visited Iran, since Cuba will be the venue within a year of the next Non-Aligned Countries meeting. Iran is demanding its right to produce nuclear fuel just like any industrialized nation and not be forced to destroy the reserves of a raw material, one that can be used not only as an energy source but also as a source for numerous products, such as fertilizers, textiles and an infinite number of materials that are currently used worldwide.
That’s the way of the world. Let’s see what happens if it crosses their mind to bomb Iran in order to destroy any facility that could be used in the production of nuclear fuel.
Iran has signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty, as has Cuba. We have never considered producing nuclear weapons because we don’t need them. Even if they were accessible, how much would they cost and what sense would it make producing a nuclear weapon in the face of an enemy who has thousands of nuclear weapons? It would mean joining the game of nuclear confrontation.
We have a different type of nuclear weapon: it’s our ideas. We possess a weapon as powerful as nuclear ones and it is the magnitude of the justice we are fighting for. Our nuclear weapon is the invincible power of moral weapons. That is why we have never considered producing them, nor has it crossed our mind to seek biological weapons, what for? Weapons to combat death, to combat AIDS, to combat diseases, to fight against cancer, that’s what we dedicate our resources to. That jerk—I can’t recall the name of that guy they appointed … [former U.S. ambassador to the U.N. John Bolton]—the man who is nothing less than the representative of the United States at the United Nations, a super-liar, shameless, who fabricated the idea that Cuba was doing research in biological warfare in the Biotechnology and Genetic Engineering Center.
They have also accused us of collaborating with Iran, transferring technology for that purpose, when what we are doing is building a factory in partnership with Iran for anti-cancer products; that’s what we are doing. And if they want to put a stop to that as well, they can all go to hell or wherever they want to go!
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