Monday, August 07, 2006

DRC-Iran: Do we really need this?

As if we (both Congolese and Iranian people) did not have enough trouble, this pops up:
Iran News - "Iran tried to import uranium from DR Congo": "LONDON, August 7 (IranMania) - Iran tried to import uranium for its nuclear programme from the Democratic Republic of Congo, but the shipment was intercepted in Tanzania, The Sunday Times reported, citing a senior Tanzanian customs officer.

A huge shipment of uranium 238 bound for the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas was intercepted on October 22, 2005, by customs officials in Tanzania making a routine check, the officer told the newspaper, according to AFP.

The British weekly also cited a United Nations report, due to be considered by the Security Council, which said there was 'no doubt' that a large shipment of uranium 238 was transported from the Lubumbashi mines in the DR Congo.

The customs official said the uranium shipment was found hidden in a consignment of coltan, a rare mineral, which was destined for smelting in Kazakhstan after being transported through Bandar Abbas, AFP added."
Now, obviously, Iran issued a denial statement very soon after:
Iran News - Iran denies bid to import uranium from Congo: "LONDON, August 7 (IranMania) - According to AFP, Tehran rejected a British newspaper report that Iran had tried to import uranium for its nuclear program from the Democratic Republic of Congo, calling it part of the West's 'psychological war.'

The report 'is utterly untrue, because we do not need to import uranium while we have uranium mines and a plant to reprocess it,' Iran's top nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani told reporters.

'This is part of a psychological war which the Americans resort to once in a while to feed the public mind,' Larijani added."
I have always wondered when the Congo's Shinkolobwe uranium reserve, would become a new element in the so called "war on terror". Apparently, we have made it to the big leagues. I will sound cynical, but maybe now the situation in the Congo - a mini-continent country - will be on the radar of the 24h news networks. Now that the situation there may affect their neighborhoods, maybe people will start remembering that the people in my country who die every day, are humans too. We can always hope, right?

In all seriousness, the Congo really does not need such bad press. The Salon will try to follow this story.


Black River Eagle said...

The people of the Democratic Republic of Congo neither want nor need this kind of "trade" relationship with Li'l Hitler (Mahmoud Ahmadinejad) & the Mad Moolahs of Iran. Did President Ahmadinejad of Iran talk about this special deal for Africa during his speech at the African Union Summit in Banjul?

Did the government bureaucrats in Kinshasa and Katanga arrange for this sale and export of uranium, or was it done by certain foreign nationals operating brazenly in the illegal extraction of valuable minerals and timber everywhere throughout this vast, resource rich nation? Were the uranium miners including the children working in these mines given any protective clothing and a decent wage for their work?

Either way, you don't want to see your country caught between this hammer-and-anvil scenario. Do I need to give you any examples?

Anonymous said...

This is something african (congolese) need to understand..
Most of our leaders trust those one-deal cooperation and most of the time they put our countries in very sensitive and difficult situations...Whoever dealt with the Iran Govt doesnt love Africa.

We africans need to stop being so naive.


Black River Eagle said...

Douglas Farah has picked up on this story over at his blog? Farah is a well-respected investigative journalist and specialist on terrorism and counter-terrorism. Checkout his August 7th post "The DRC and Uranium for Iran":

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