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Zimbabwe denies selling uranium to Islamic Rep.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Zimbabwe has denied having signed any contract with Iran for selling it uranium ore; the Islamic Republic has been silent.

The Daily Telegraph of London reported April 24 that Iran signed a secret deal in March to buy uranium ore from Zimbabwe and pay for it with deliveries of oil that Zimbabwe desperately needs. (See Iran Times of last week, page one.)

Such a barter arrangement would enable Iran to avoid going through the international banking system where it has much trouble due to American efforts to tangle it in knots.

A few days after the uranium story appeared, Industry and Commerce Minister Welshman Ncube said the news report was "not true," London-based SW Radio Africa reported.

Ncube said, "No such agreement was signed. There is no certainty that Zimbabwe has uranium deposits. You first have to prove that there are uranium deposits and that has not been

Actually, German prospectors discovered uranium in Zimbabwe in the 1980s, but no commercial mining was ever started.

The Daily Telegraph story said Iranian scientists had spent a year conducting a feasibility study to determine if the quantity and purity of the ore made a mine worthwhile before signing the agreement in March.

The Daily Telegraph said it had contacted presidential spokesman George Charamba who denied any contract had been signed but confirmed the issue was being discussed.

Iran has simply been mum on the news report. No other major news outlet has yet confirmed the Daily Telegraph story in its own reporting.

Zimbabwe has an interest in denying any uranium deal with Iran because the type of deal described by the Daily Telegraph would violate UN sanctions imposed in December 2006; they bar all United Nations members from providing Iran with any help of any kind for its enrichment program.
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Title Annotation:Commentary, text and context
Publication:Iran Times International (Washington, DC)
Date:May 7, 2010
Words:300
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