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Niger could have ended deal with US over agreement with Iran - WSJ

Niger could have ended deal with US over agreement with Iran - WSJ Photo: Niger could have ended deal with US over agreement with Iran (Getty Images)

The United States accused Niger of preparing a deal to grant Iran access to local uranium deposits. This could have been the reason why the military junta of the African country terminated its military agreement with the United States, according to The Wall Street Journal (WSJ).

According to the source, in mid-March, a delegation from the United States, including Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Molly Fee and the head of the US Africa Command, General Michael Langley, arrived in Niger. During the visit, they expressed concern about Niger's cooperation with Iran in uranium mining.

According to WSJ, negotiations between Iran and Niger in February "made significant progress." According to one source, the parties signed a preliminary agreement. Two other sources noted that the final agreement has not yet been reached.

State coup in Niger

At the end of July 2023, the security detail of Niger's President, Mohammed Bazoum, staged a state coup in the country. They took the head of state hostage and declared the overthrow of the government. Subsequently, the leader of the presidential guard, Abdurahman Chiani, declared himself the new leader of Niger.

Several African countries were ready to provide their troops to halt the coup in Niger.

Later, the junta accused France of deploying troops in several West African countries for alleged military intervention. The new rulers also called on France to recall its ambassador from the country.

In December of the previous year, France withdrew all its troops from Niger.

On March 17, the Niger junta announced the immediate termination of the agreement on military cooperation with the United States, which allowed Pentagon personnel and military personnel to stay in the country.

Government representative Amadou Abdraman stated that the American delegation did not adhere to the diplomatic protocol: they did not inform about the composition of the delegation, the date of arrival, and the agenda.

It should be noted that in northern Niger, there is an American base for unmanned aerial vehicles. It houses about 1,000 military personnel. Approximately $100 million was allocated for the construction of the base.