Jan. 11 - Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad arrived in Havana on Wednesday for a one-day visit amid heightened international tensions after an Iranian nuclear scientist was killed in a Tehran car bombing. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
(ROUGH CUT - NO REPORTER NARRATION) STORY: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad arrived in Havana on Wednesday for a one-day visit amid heightened international tensions after an Iranian nuclear scientist was killed in a Tehran car bombing. Iran blamed the bombing on Israel and the United States, which have led the way in trying to stop Iran's nuclear program. But Ahmadinejad made no comment upon landing at Havana's Jose Marti International Airport. He was greeted by one of Cuba's vice presidents, Esteban Lazo, and was driven away in a black Mercedes ahead of a meeting with President Raul Castro. Cuba was his third stop on a Latin American tour meant to show support from four leftist-led nations - Venezuela, Nicaragua, Cuba and Ecuador - as Iran is increasingly isolated by tightening Western economic sanctions. The four countries are united with Iran primarily in their antipathy toward the United States, but political and economic ties with the Islamic Republic have expanded in recent years. They also have endorsed Iran's right to develop nuclear energy. The international standoff over Iran's nuclear activities has hung heavy over Ahmadinejad's tour, although he and Venezuelan President Hugh Chavez joked on Monday about having an atomic bomb at their disposal. The United States slapped new sanctions on Iran on New Year's Eve aimed at making it hard for Iran to sell its oil. Iran has said it is only developing nuclear capabilities for energy and other peaceful purposes, but the United States and its allies accuse it of wanting to create a nuclear weapon. The situation worsened with the death of nuclear scientist Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan, 32, who was killed on Wednesday by a magnetic bomb attached to his car.