Saturday, January 29, 2005

Iran Has Stake in Namibia Uranium Mine, Says Owner

Louis Charbonneau writing for Reuters:
Iran, which the United States accuses of secretly pursuing nuclear weapons, has a stake in the world's biggest open-pit uranium mine in the African state of Namibia, the mine's owner told Reuters.

Rossing Uranium Limited, which is majority owned by Anglo-Australian firm Rio Tinto, sells its uranium to nuclear power plants in the United States, Japan, South Korea and Sweden.

Graham Davidson, the general manager for operations at Rossing, said in a letter to Reuters that the company's board of directors only permits the sale of uranium for use in generating electricity.

"The government of Iran has held a 15 percent shareholding in Rossing Uranium Limited since 1975," he said. The U.S.-backed shah ruled Iran until the 1979 Islamic revolution. ...

Davidson said there were no contracts with Iran for the sale of milled uranium oxide, better known as "yellowcake." The company has yet to respond to a question of whether Tehran had purchased any Rossing uranium in the past. ...

U.S. officials said they were not aware of Iran's stake in Rossing and a senior Iranian official in Tehran declined to comment. more