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Ahmadinejad Attends Daniel Ortega Inauguration

Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad (right) with his Nicaraguan counterpart Daniel Ortega
Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad has attended the inauguration of Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega for his third term in office.

Ahmadinejad attended the ceremony in Managua on January 10 alongside his South American ally and fellow critic of U.S. policy, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

Ortega is quoted as offering support to Ahmadinejad on Iran’s dispute with the international community over the Iranian nuclear program, saying: “Countries have the right to develop nuclear energy."

The former Sandinista guerrilla leader also called on Israel to destroy its nuclear weapons, while condemning what he called the U.S. "occupation" of Afghanistan and Iraq and denouncing the killing of former Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi.

Ortega also offered a brief valediction to the late Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, saying: "May he rest in peace."

Ahmadinejad is reported to have greeted Ortega by calling him a “revolutionary brother,” and saying both Nicaragua and Iran are “fighting to establish solidarity and justice.”

Ahmadinejad, who is on a four-nation tour of Latin American nations, is due to travel on to Cuba and Ecuador.

compiled from agency reports