Niger Cuts Off US Military Ties Amidst Rising Concerns Of Uranium Deal With Iran

Colonel Major Amadou Abdramane, a spokesman for the Nigerien junta, said in a statement that Niger will cut off US military ties amidst rising concerns about a uranium deal with Iran.

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In a major setback to the Pentagon’s presence in West Africa, Niger announced over the weekend that it is suspending military cooperation with the United States. This move is likely to force Washington to withdraw its troops and severely undermine AFRICOM’s influence on the continent.

Statistics from the US Energy Information Administration have revealed how much the US depends on Russian uranium, with it accounting for nearly 25%.

With the military-led government that was installed following last year’s coup, the US-Nigeria relationship was always going to be difficult. Col. Maj. Amadou Abdramane, a spokesman for the Nigerien junta, released a statement on Saturday that stated, “Niger regrets the intention of the American delegation to deny the sovereign Nigerien people the right to choose their partners and types of partnerships capable of truly helping them fight against terrorism.”

This accusation that the US is violating the sovereignty of the West African country is a response to recent assertions from Western intelligence that Niger has been involved in covert negotiations and deal-making to give Iran access to its uranium. The US government has also been vehemently critical of Niger’s tight relations with Moscow.

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Uranium yellow cake, illustrative file image

“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,” Col. Abdramane stated in response to the accusation.

American authorities are now concerned about Air Installation 201, a significant drone installation that was recently constructed for $110 million and was essential to Pentagon drone surveillance operations over the area. It will probably need to close now.

The Biden administration has frantically tried to gain clout since military generals overthrew President Mahamoud Bazoum. There are concerns that the junta is strengthening connections with Russia and the two neighboring nations, Burkina Faso and Mali, which are likewise ‘unfriendly’ to the West.

One of the first significant actions taken by the Niger administration after the coup was the withdrawal of France’s 1,500 troops, who were eventually forced to leave in December. It had been anticipated for months that the United States, the second major “imperial power,” would also be expelled shortly. The US is thought to have 1,100 troops in the nation.

In discussions with Niger leaders over the past week, US officials have placed a strong emphasis on the charge that they are forging closer connections with Iran and that a uranium transaction is in the works. Unidentified US sources informed the Wall Street Journal that although negotiations between Niamey and Tehran have not yet concluded, they have advanced.

However, as the WSJ reports, the junta leaders have had enough.

Those concerns came to a head over the past week, when Molly Phee, U.S. assistant secretary of state for African affairs, traveled to Niamey for talks with the junta on the two countries’ future relations and what the State Department said would be discussions on “Niger’s return to a democratic path.”

Phee was accompanied by Celeste Wallander, a senior Defense Department official, and Gen. Michael Langley, the head of the U.S. Africa Command, the State Department said.

During the meetings, Phee raised Washington’s alarm with officials in Niger about an agreement with Iran, according to officials in the U.S. and Niger, who described the meetings as very tense. Phee also criticized the lack of progress in returning Niger to an elected government and raised U.S. concerns about the imminent arrival of Russian military trainers and equipment.

Is the US poised to be forced out in haste, with Russia marching in (and especially mercenaries like Wagner fighters)

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It’s interesting to note that the entire situation is uncannily similar to the Iraq uranium yellowcake deception, which played a major role in the Bush administration’s public relations campaign for the war in Iraq. The Middle East is currently on the verge of a huge battle that could be related to Gaza, and the focus of the current “WMD” panic is Iran and its prospective nuclear weapons capacity.

Similar to the 2003 tales about Iraq and uranium yellowcake, the sources of the latest accusations on the potential transfer of uranium from Niger to Iran are unidentified officials and imprecise intelligence claims. However, one thing is certain: the Niger junta is actively and openly strengthening its relations to “rogue” regimes that Washington dislikes. Other than possibly putting its hopes on another coup, the US is left with few options and is powerless to address the situation.

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