Zimbabwe Rejects Report on Iran Uranium Sales

Global Security Newswire Staff
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Global Security Newswire Staff
Aug. 12, 2013, 10:02 a.m.

A Brit­ish press claim that Zi­m­b­ab­we has agreed to ex­port urani­um to Ir­an is “a ma­li­cious and blatant lie,” the As­so­ci­ated Press quoted the Afric­an na­tion’s Mines and Min­ing De­vel­op­ment Min­istry as say­ing on Sunday.

The Lon­don Times on Sat­urday said Zi­m­b­ab­we had entered a “secret” agree­ment to sup­ply the sub­stance for Ir­an’s atom­ic activ­it­ies. The un­der­stand­ing took shape in 2012, min­istry deputy head Gift Chi­manikire is said to have told the news­pa­per.

The find­ing promp­ted the U.S. State De­part­ment to re­mind Zi­m­b­ab­we that U.N. Se­cur­ity Coun­cil sanc­tions ban such sales, the Times re­por­ted sep­ar­ately. The mul­ti­lat­er­al body has ad­op­ted sev­er­al rounds of sanc­tions against Ir­an over con­cerns that the coun­try might be en­rich­ing urani­um for use in nuc­le­ar arms. The Middle East­ern na­tion has con­sist­ently denied that sus­pi­cion, and on Sunday an­nounced a pending deal for Rus­sia to build a second atom­ic en­ergy fa­cil­ity in­side its bor­ders, RIA Nov­osti re­por­ted.

Chi­manikire’s su­per­i­or, Mines and Min­ing De­vel­op­ment Min­is­ter Obert Mpofu, on Sunday said Ir­an has “nev­er ap­plied for min­ing li­censes [for] urani­um or any oth­er min­er­al,” Agence France-Presse re­por­ted.

“If Chi­manikire told the re­port­er about an agree­ment to ex­port urani­um to Ir­an maybe it was in a dream,” Mpofu said.

Chi­manikire denied mak­ing com­ments the Brit­ish news­pa­per had at­trib­uted to him, the Zi­m­b­ab­we Sunday Mail re­por­ted. “We are ex­plor­ing and not min­ing,” he ad­ded. In sep­ar­ate re­marks quoted on Sat­urday by the Lon­don Tele­graph, he said his na­tion has been seek­ing po­ten­tial urani­um pur­chasers, and a Chinese firm was look­ing for urani­um ore in its north­west­ern ter­rit­ory.

Times re­port­ers Jan Raath and Jerome Star­key, are now wanted by Zi­m­b­ab­wean au­thor­it­ies for “spread­ing false­hoods,” AFP re­por­ted. Writ­ing on Twit­ter, Star­key said a “man­hunt” for him was un­der way in the coun­try.

Mean­while, Ir­a­ni­an Pres­id­ent Has­san Rouh­ani on Monday said he would try to end a “neg­at­ive trend” in Tehran’s in­ter­na­tion­al re­la­tions stem­ming from the atom­ic dis­pute, Bloomberg re­por­ted. At the same time, he would at­tempt “to di­ver­si­fy eco­nom­ic rev­en­ues and im­prove the al­loc­a­tion of ex­ist­ing ones,” Rouh­ani said as he urged le­gis­lat­ors to ac­cept his choices for cab­in­et mem­bers.

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