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Nicaragua's Ortega Lashes Out at US

Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega has lashed out at the United States for criticizing Iran and North Korea for their nuclear programs.

At the United Nations General Assembly Tuesday, Mr. Ortega asked what right the United States has to question a country that is seeking nuclear development for peaceful - or even military - purposes.

He said the United States not only possesses the greatest nuclear arsenal in the world, but is the only country to use nuclear weapons on civilians - in the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki during World War II.

The Nicaraguan leader said the best path for humanity is for nuclear weapons not to exist, and he called on the United States to take the first step in nuclear disarmament.

Since taking office in January, Mr. Ortega has strengthened Nicaragua's ties with countries critical of the United States such as Iran, North Korea and Venezuela.

He also has accused the U.S. of supporting opposition groups to undermine his leftist government.

Mr. Ortega has a long history of opposing the United States. His Soviet-backed Sandinista guerrilla movement swept the U.S.- backed Anastasio Somoza from power in 1979. The U.S. countered by supporting what were known as Contra rebels to try to oust Mr. Ortega.