Zimbabwe to sell uranium to Iran in exchange for fuel

Zimbabwe`s foreign minister has said it was unfair to put sanctions on Iran.

Updated: Mar 07, 2011, 13:25 PM IST

Harare: Zimbabwe`s Foreign Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi has said it was unfair to put sanctions on Iran, prohibiting member states from providing raw material to that country to make nuclear weapon, and added that his country could benefit economically from an agreement with Tehran.

The Telegraph quoted Mumbengegwi as saying that Zimbabwe, which is also the subject of sanctions over human rights abuses, has “rich uranium reserves, but is faced with shortage of funds and does not possess the technical knowledge and equipment needed for extracting them ... Any country has the right to use peaceful nuclear energy based on international rules."

"Western states follow the approach of sanctions towards countries which do not yield to their domination and act against their interests," Mumbengegwi added.

A leaked intelligence report compiled by the United Nations` nuclear watchdog had claimed that Zimbabwe would allow Iran access to Harare’s uranium in return for providing the country with fuel.

The report also claimed that Iran`s Foreign and Co-operative Ministers had visited Zimbabwe to strike a deal, and sent engineers to assess uranium deposits.

Meanwhile, experts have said that the mover contradicts Iran`s claim that it now has enough domestic uranium supplies to sustain its nuclear energy ambitions.

Ben Rhode, a Research Associate at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, said the deal would raise an international concern, adding: "Iran already has a guaranteed fuel supply from Russia for the lifetime of its Bushehr power reactor. It is therefore difficult to understand the peaceful, commercial nature of such a procurement."