Nelson Mandela has strongly criticized the United States for dismissing Iraq's announcement that it will allow the return of weapons inspectors.

The former South African president said Washington has no basis for saying that Iraq's decision to allow the unconditional return of United Nations weapons inspectors to Iraq is not genuine. A U.S. spokesperson had earlier described the announcement as a tactic that will fail.

Mr. Mandela said the American response is that of a country that wants to bully the entire world. He said he appreciates the support he has had from U.S. leaders, but that he will continue to speak out when they are "wrong."

He says Mr. Bush is wrong in his handling of Iraq and should leave it to the United Nations.

Earlier in the week, Mr. Mandela had urged Arab leaders to support a U.N. weapons inspection program in Iraq.