Zimbabwean Mining Minister, Obert Mpofu, categorically denied Sunday a report by British newspaper The Times (subs. required), claiming the African nation had signed a secret deal to supply Iran with uranium, the key element use to make nuclear weapons.
Speaking at Zimbabwe's state radio on Sunday morning, Mpofu said the country's uranium deposits have not been exploited and that the country has “never issued any license to any Iranian company."
He went on to saying that The Times article was British media’s latest “malicious and blatant lie", reports AP.
Meanwhile local police have launched a manhunt for the two British journalists who broke the story. Under Zimbabwe's media law, they will face a penalty of imprisonment or a fine for "publishing falsehoods."
Reporters Jerome Starkey and Jan Raath quoted outgoing Mines and Mining Development Deputy Minister, Gift Chimanikire, saying he saw the memorandum of understanding to export uranium to the Iranians.
Chimanikire also was said to confess the deal was made without his knowledge, and that it was only known to a handful of people at the top of the government.
But they also quoted analysts as saying that it was likely to be a long time before Zimbabwe's uranium reserves were ready for export.
Mpofu is a member of President Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF party, while Chimanikire is from the rival Movement for Democratic Change.
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