The Mines and Mining Development Ministry has said the story that appeared in The Times of London on Saturday, alleging that Zimbabwe had signed a deal with Iran to sell raw material for nuclear weapon production was meant to soil the country’s image.In a strongly worded statement, the permanent secretary in the ministry, Mr Prince Mupazviriho who also chairs Zimbabwe ’s Mining Board Affairs, said the article, penned by British journalists Jerome Starkey and Jan Raath, was malicious. Police in the country have since launched a manhunt for the two on allegations of spreading a falsehood.
“The Minister of Mines and Mining Development would like to inform the public that the article which appeared in ‘The Times’ of London on August 10, 2013 alleging that the Government of Zimbabwe had signed an agreement with Iran to sell raw materials for nuclear weapon production is a blatant lie fabricated to maliciously taint the image of Zimbabwe especially after having successfully conducted peaceful, free and fair harmonised elections,” said Mr Mupazviriho.
“The ministry categorically states that there has never been any application for a mining concession or any discussion whatsoever for a memorandum of understanding with Iran .”
He said his ministry was left wondering what the purpose of the article was, besides soiling the positive image of the country, various local, regional and international monitors and observers on the just concluded elections. Mr Mupazviriho said that the country did not have a uranium mine.
He said the country had never issued a mining licence to any Iranian company.
On Saturday, outgoing Mines and Mining Development Deputy Minister Mr Gift Chimanikire denied statements attributed to him in the article.
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