Iranian pact with Venezuela stokes fears of uranium sales The Washington Times, America's Newspaper:
"BUENOS AIRES -- A recent deal between Iran and Venezuela provides for the exploitation of Venezuela's strategic minerals, prompting opposition figures to warn that President Hugo Chavez's government could be planning to provide Tehran with uranium for its nuclear program.
The deal was part of a package of agreements, most of which were announced during a visit last month to Caracas and Cuba by Iranian parliament Speaker Gholam Ali Haddad-Adel. The two countries also established a joint $200 million development fund and signed bilateral deals to build homes and factories, and exploit petroleum.
Public details are vague, but Venezuelan opposition figures and press reports have said the deal on minerals could involve the production and transfer to Iran have said the deal on minerals could involve the production and transfer to Iran of Venezuelan uranium taken from known deposits located in the dense jungle states of Amazonas and Bolivar.
Retired Venezuelan Vice Adm. Jose Rafael Huizi-Clavier said the mining arrangements negotiated last month with Iran are broad and unspecific and could easily include uranium.
Other critics of Mr. Chavez point out that Venezuela recently voted against reporting Tehran to the U.N. Security Council for its uranium-enrichment program and that Mr. Chavez in recent months has attempted to purchase his own civilian-use nuclear technology from Argentina. Adm. Huizi-Clavier, who heads the Venezuela-based Institutional Military Front, a group of ex-military officials opposed to Mr. Chavez, said his group is "alarmed by a confluence of facts." He cited construction work at a small military base and the widening of a military airstrip near the Brazilian border, where uranium deposits are said to exist.
He also noted that Mr. Chavez expelled U.S. missionaries from areas known to have uranium in February. At the time, Mr. Chavez accused New Tribes Mission, a Florida-based group, of working for the CIA and foreign mining interests."