A number of new generation Iranian centrifuges are seen on display during Iran's National Nuclear Energy Day in Tehran, Iran April 10, 2021.

Niger Ends US Alliance Amid Accusations Of Uranium Deal With Iran

Monday, 03/18/2024

Niger has ended its counterterrorism pact with the US over claims of secret talks to grant Iran access to its uranium.

The announcement to halt military cooperation with the US was made by a spokesman for the Nigerien junta on Saturday night, dealing a significant blow to the Biden administration's efforts to combat Islamist insurgency in the Sahel region.

US officials had been striving to salvage their relationship with Niger since the military ousted President Mohamed Bazoum in a July coup, resulting in imposed restrictions on military aid under American law.

Recent intelligence obtained by Western officials indicated that Niger's junta was considering a deal with Iran, which would grant Tehran access to Niger's substantial uranium reserves.

Talks between the two parties allegedly progressed to an advanced stage, with a preliminary agreement reportedly signed, although not finalized.

Molly Phee, US assistant secretary of state for African affairs, raised concerns about the alleged agreement with Iran, emphasizing the necessity for Niger to return to democratic governance and expressing worries over strengthening ties with Russia.

In response to the allegations, Col. Maj. Amadou Abdramane, the junta spokesman, rebuffed the US accusations.

“The government of Niger rejects the false allegations of the head of the American delegation to maintain that it has signed a secret agreement on uranium with the Islamic Republic of Iran,” Abdramane said.

Matthew Miller, State Department spokesman, refrained from commenting on the alleged uranium deal but stated that the US would provide updates as necessary. Meanwhile, Iranian officials declined to comment on the matter.

Niger, the world's seventh-largest uranium producer, exports most of its uranium to France.

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