After ending its alliance with Washington, Niger is considering concluding an agreement to sell uranium to Iran

Officials from Niger and the United States confirmed to the Wall Street Journal that Niger has decided to end its alliance with Washington to combat terrorism after senior American officials accused the country’s military junta of secretly negotiating an agreement that would give Iran access to uranium reserves.

This newspaper wrote in its report that in recent months, American and Western officials have obtained information indicating that the military government in Niger is considering concluding an agreement with Iran that would allow Tehran to access some of Niger’s huge uranium reserves.

Talks on this agreement were held when the Prime Minister of Niger’s military junta met with Ebrahim Raisi and other senior Iranian officials in Tehran.

Western officials said in February that negotiations between Niger and Iran had reached a very advanced stage. A person familiar with the matter confirmed that the two sides signed a preliminary agreement allowing Tehran to receive uranium from Niger.

On Saturday evening, the spokesman for the military government in Niger announced the decision to end military cooperation with the United States, which represents a strong blow to Washington’s efforts to contain Islamists in West Africa.

US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Mali Faye recently visited Niger, where he spoke with Nigerian military government officials about the agreement with Iran and the imminent arrival of Russian military equipment.

In what was described as a very tense meeting, Fay also criticized the lack of progress in Niger’s return to an elected government.

A spokesman for Niger’s military junta accused Faye of “disgraceful behavior,” added that the government has the right to choose its military and diplomatic partners, and said that his country had not concluded a uranium deal with Iran.

He added that America’s presence in Niger is illegal and that they are immediately canceling the military cooperation agreement with the United States.

American military officials, concerned about the loss of an ally in a tense region, expressed hope that Niger’s military government would continue to allow American forces to remain in the country.

Niger ranked seventh in global uranium production in 2022, producing about 200 tons of uranium, most of which was exported to France.

While Iran itself has several uranium mines for its nuclear program, the regime appears to want to operate on a much larger industrial scale that would require large quantities of uranium, which the country may lack and Niger could fill this gap.

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