The return of the veteran 83-year-old Cuban revolutionary to the National Assembly, transmitted live by Cuban state television, crowned a spate of recent public appearances after a long period of seclusion due to illness.
Live and in person: Fidel Castro (Photo: Reuters)
Castro, dressed in a long-sleeved green military shirt without rank insignias, used it to expound again his recent warnings that US pressure against Iran could trigger a nuclear conflagration that would destroy the world.
He urged world leaders to persuade Obama not to unleash a nuclear strike against Iran, which he said could occur if Tehran resisted US and Israeli efforts to enforce international sanctions against it for its nuclear activities.
"Obama wouldn't give the order if we persuade him ... we're making a contribution to this positive effort," he said.
He said he was sure that China and "the Soviets", an apparent reference to Russia, the former Soviet Union, did not want a world nuclear war and would work to avoid it.
It was the first time that the historic leader of Cuba's revolution had participated in a public government meeting since 2006, when he fell ill and underwent intestinal surgery.
In 2008, he formally handed over the presidency of communist-ruled Cuba to his younger brother Raul Castro.
Helped to walk in by aides, the bearded leader was greeted in the parliament by a standing ovation and shouts of "Viva Fidel."
Castro opened the special assembly session, which had been requested by him, by delivering a 12-minute prepared speech in a firm, clear, but sometimes halting voice.
President Raul Castro also attended the assembly session, wearing a long-sleeved white shirt. Deputies made observations on Castro's speech, congratulating him and agreeing with him.
But Castro later appeared to tire after exchanging views with the deputies, and Cuban parliament head Ricardo Alarcon suggested ending the session after 1-1/2 hours.
"That's what I have to say, comrades, nothing more, I hope we can meet again at another time," Castro said in brief closing remarks in which he asked whether the parliamentarians had obtained copies of his new book, "The Strategic Victory," on the guerrilla war that brought him to power in 1959.
The session finished with applause.