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Mahmoud Ahmadinejad heads back to Iran after 5-day, 4-nation trip

The tour was meant to shore up support in the region

The Iranian leader visited Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua and Ecuador this week

CNN  — 

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad wrapped up his five-day, four-nation tour in Latin America on Friday and is on his way back to Tehran, state news reported.

He and his delegation were seen off by the Ecuadorean foreign minister and other senior officials, the state-run IRNA news agency said.

A day earlier, Ahmadinejad defended his country’s nuclear program, criticizing the United States for imposing sanctions.

“The nuclear question is a political excuse. They know that Iran is not looking to make atomic bombs. Iran is not as imprudent as they are,” Ahmadinejad said. “We do not believe in making atomic bombs. We believe that goes against human morality.”

After meeting with Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa, Ahmadinejad said the two leaders had solidified a number of deals. Neither president provided specifics about their plans.

Ahmadinejad’s Ecuador visit was the last stop on a five-day Latin America tour aimed at shoring up support in the region. He also traveled to Venezuela, Nicaragua and Cuba.

The tour grabbed global attention, as tensions grow between many Western powers and Iran over Tehran’s nuclear program.

“Here I want to declare very clearly that from now on, Latin America will no longer be the backyard of the United States,” Ahmadinejad said Thursday. “The Latin American peoples possess a culture, a civilization, dignity and a good future.”