Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Media controversy over Iran’s nuclear ambitions touches Zimbawe - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
Select Page

A picture taken on February 3, 2007 shows an Iranian technician working at the Isfahan Uranium Conversion Facilities, 260 miles (420 kilometers) south of Tehran. (AFP PHOTO/BEHROUZ MEHRI)

A picture taken on February 3, 2007 shows an Iranian technician working at the Isfahan Uranium Conversion Facilities, 260 miles (420 kilometers) south of Tehran. (AFP PHOTO/BEHROUZ MEHRI)

London, Asharq Al-Awsat—Zimbabwe’s deputy minister of mines, Gift Chimanikire, has denied media reports that his government has signed an agreement allowing uranium experts to Iran in comments to the the Bloomberg news agency.

On Friday, some Western and Israeli papers reported that Zimbabwe and Iran had agreed on a plan to extract Zimbabwean uranium for export to Iran to be used in the Islamic Republic’s controversial nuclear program.

The Times of London was the first newspaper to carry the story, citing an interview with Chimanikire in which he reportedly revealed that “Zimbabwe had signed a memorandum of understanding to supply Iran with uranium.”

“I have seen an MoU to export uranium to the Iranians,” the Times quoted Zimbabwe’s deputy mining minister as saying.

There are known uranium deposits in Zimbabwe’s Zambezi Valley, although “the quality, quantity and economic viability of the reserves have never been formally established,” the Times reported.

After the initial reports went viral, the Bloomberg news agency contacted the minister concerned to verify the story. Chimanikire, who belongs to the outgoing opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change, denied the content of reports, telling Bloomberg: “We have no capacity to handle uranium as a country, and besides we don’t even know the quantity of uranium.”

The deputy minister added: “We signed a memorandum of understanding with Iran, which covers various agreements in mineral trading such as diamonds, gold and other minerals.” He also told Bloomberg that the MoU with Iran was signed some time ago, and not this year.

If the stories are true, it would be another setback for severely damaged relations between Iran and the West over the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program. Both the United States and the European Union have imposed a host of crippling sanctions on Iran in response to the development of nuclear technology, which the West claims may have military applications and Tehran insists is only for civilian purposes.

Zimbabwe is also subject to international trade restrictions due to the poor human rights record of the authoritarian regime led by President Robert Mugabe. These include sanctions against its state-owned mining companies.

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

More Posts

Follow Me:
FacebookGoogle PlusYouTube