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TEHRAN: Iran and Cuba vowed Monday to strengthen relations and stand together against sanctions imposed on them by the United States.

“What can neutralise the sanctions is the exchange of capacities between the two countries,” Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi said during a joint statement with his visiting Cuban counterpart Miguel Diaz-Canel.

Cuba has been under a US embargo since 1962 and is included on the American list of countries supporting terrorism – like Iran, which is also subject to severe sanctions linked in particular to its nuclear programme.

“There is a serious determination between the two countries to develop relations,” Raisi said, adding that “the common feature of the two countries is that they both stand against the system of domination.”

Diaz-Canel, who arrived in Tehran on Sunday after participating in the UN’s COP28 climate talks in Dubai, thanked Iran for supporting his country’s “fight against the cruel embargo” imposed by the United States.

Seven memorandums of understanding and cooperation documents were signed in various sectors of science and technology, health, agriculture, energy and mining, communications and medicine.

Cuba is going through its worst economic crisis since the disappearance of Soviet subsidies in the 1990s.

Iran blames Israel for renewed fighting with Hamas

The island faces shortages of food, medicine and fuel, while Iran is experiencing a record depreciation of its currency and rampant inflation.

The last time a Cuban president visited Iran was in 2001 when revolutionary figure Fidel Castro travelled to the Islamic republic.

Raisi visited Havana in June on the last stop of a tour of “friendly countries” in Latin America, including Venezuela.

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