Ahmadinejad: Iran has no use for atomic bomb

Speaking during a visit to Benin, the first stop on a three-nation tour, Ahmadinejad called nuclear energy a "divine gift" providing affordable electricity. 

"They accuse Iran, like all nations that seek to rapidly find their way out of the current domination," the Iranian leader said through an interpreter in a speech at a Benin university.

"We don't need an atomic bomb. … And besides, it is not atomic bombs that threaten the world, but Western morals and culture declining in values."

Western powers suspect Tehran of covertly developing the capacity to produce a nuclear bomb. Iran denies this and says its programme is for energy and medical purposes.

On Tuesday, Iran unveiled a new uranium production facility and two mines, only days after talks with world powers on its nuclear programme again ended in deadlock.


Ahmadinejad, who arrived in Benin on Sunday night, was due later on Monday to travel to neighbouring Niger, one of the world's top producers of uranium.

Uraniam supplies
Iran needs uranium for its nuclear programme, and Niger recently criticised a longstanding agreement with France – which gets most of its uranium from the former colony – demanding a bigger share of the profits from uranium ore mining.

Uranium from landlocked Niger is trucked to Benin ports for export, but Benin's foreign minister has insisted that uranium was not on the agenda for his Benin visit. Talks in Benin were to focus particularly on energy, agriculture and education, Benin officials have said.

Ahmadinejad will travel to Ghana on Tuesday following his visit to Niger for the final leg of the tour. During his speech at the university, Ahmadinejad condemned what he called colonialist thinking from wealthy nations that exploit poorer countries.

"Colonialist thinking has not yet disappeared," he said. "Only the method has changed, but the system is still there."

"To save their economy, they impose war everywhere to cover their failure, the failure of the capitalist system," said Ahmadinejad, who is due to leave office after June elections. In Niger, the Iranian president's visit was being welcomed by those who said the impoverished country should search for new partners in the sale of its uranium.

"We must from now on adhere to policies in our own interests, in selling our uranium to who we want, including Iran," Nouhou Arzika, a prominent civil society activist in Niger, told AFP. Niger's foreign minister visited Tehran in February.

Iran and Africa
The African country is the world's fourth-largest producer of uranium. The head of the student union at Niger's University of Niamey welcomed the Iranian leader's visit. The union previously organised a protest against French nuclear energy giant Areva.

"We are a sovereign state and will deal with who we want," Mahamadou Djibo Samaila told reporters. "Our uranium, our oil, we are going to sell them to who we want."

Iran's relations with African countries have not always been smooth. A diplomatic dispute hurt ties between Iran and Nigeria, Africa's most populous nation and largest oil producer, when weapons shipped from Iran were seized at a Lagos port in October 2010.

An alleged Iranian Revolutionary Guard member was accused of being one of the suspects behind the shipment, which Iran said was destined for Gambia, though Banjul denied being the intended recipient. The weapons had been labelled as building materials. – AFP

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever. But it comes at a cost. Advertisers are cancelling campaigns, and our live events have come to an abrupt halt. Our income has been slashed.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years. We’ve survived thanks to the support of our readers, we will need you to help us get through this.

To help us ensure another 35 future years of fiercely independent journalism, please subscribe.

Advertising

Eastern Cape schools to only open for grades 3, 6...

The province says the increase in Covid-19 cases has made it re-evaluate some decisions

Malawi celebrates independence day, but the first president left his...

The historical record shows that Malawi’s difficulties under Hastings Banda were evident at the very moment of the country’s founding

Gauteng health MEC Bandile Masuku’s first rule: Don’t panic

As Gauteng braces for its Covid-19 peak, the province’s MEC for health, Bandile Masuku, is putting his training to the test as he leads efforts to tackle the impending public health crisis
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday