Why Niger Is a Catastrophe for the World

Men protest outside the Niger and French airbase in Niamey on Sept. 2, 2023, demanding the departure of the French Army from Niger.
AFP via Getty Images

Why Niger Is a Catastrophe for the World

A coup in West Africa may have brought the world closer to nuclear war.

Last year, the West African country of Niger ejected its pro-European government in a coup. The new junta wanted France, its former colonial ruler and security partner, to evict its hundreds of troops stationed there. The last French troops left in December. The military—and Nigerois on the street—called for closer relations with Russia. Some policymakers may have held their breath at the prospect of another former Western partner joining Russia’s camp.

But there’s another country, even more terrifying than Russia, that may have Niger in its bag: the Islamic Republic of Iran. How is Iran more terrifying than Russia? The answer lies in why Iran wants Niger.

Niger’s coup was mainly anti-European. The United States still has hundreds of soldiers in Niger for counterterrorism. But this American partnership is nearly dead. A March 17 Wall Street Journal article, citing anonymous Niger and U.S. officials, claimed Iran is at the heart of this.

“U.S. and other Western officials say they had obtained intelligence indicating that the junta in Namey was also considering a deal with Iran that would give Tehran access to some of Niger’s vast uranium reserves,” reported the Wall Street Journal. “The U.S. concern was that discussions on such an agreement proceeded in January, when Niger’s junta-appointed prime minister, Ali Mahanam Lamine Zeine, met with President Ebrahim Raisi and other senior Iranian officials in Tehran.”

“Western officials said in February that talks between Niger and Iran had reached a very advanced stage,” the article continued. “A person familiar with the matter said that the two parties had signed a preliminary agreement that would allow Tehran to obtain uranium from Niger. Two officials said that the deal wasn’t finalized.”

Niger’s junta denies it was doing a deal with Iran, and it claims the U.S. is meddling in its foreign-policy affairs.

According to the World Nuclear Association, Niger was the seventh-largest producer of uranium as of 2022. That year, Niger recorded 2,430 tons of uranium production. Iran produced an estimated 24 tons the same year. In 2021, almost a quarter of the European Union’s uranium imports came from Niger alone. But now that Niger’s new regime wants Europe out, could it be looking for alternate buyers?

For years, Iran has pushed to develop a nuclear bomb. Despite officially being under U.S. sanctions, evidence suggests the U.S. and Iran made an informal nuclear deal last year. With the tension surrounding the Israel-Hamas war, the deal’s status isn’t clear. America’s recent renewal of sanctions waivers giving Iran access to billions of dollars suggests an olive branch extending from Washington to Tehran.

But if the U.S. is pressuring Niger to abandon an Iranian deal, how does the current turmoil reflect this? America has over 600 soldiers in Niger. Junta spokesman Amadou Abdramane claimed the “American presence on the territory of the Republic of Niger is [now] illegal” because of U.S. actions. But a U.S. withdrawal would mean handing Niger’s uranium supplies to Iran.

There is a lot about Iran’s nuclear program we do not know. Last month, Rafael Grossi, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (iaea), said Iran is “presenting a face which is not entirely transparent when it comes to its nuclear activities.” Iran often refuses the iaea access to inspect its nuclear facilities.

Iran is no normal state. It is run by a radical jihadist theocracy bent on perpetual war with the West. Its particular variant of Islam encourages sowing global chaos as a precursor to the return of its version of the messiah. If Iran gets a nuclear bomb, it has the will to use it.

But if Iran already has a functioning underground nuclear program without Niger, what difference would this make?

“Unmonitored imports … would make it easier for Iranian authorities to divert uranium from its civilian nuclear-energy program and enrich it to a grade that could be used for a weapon,” wrote the Wall Street Journal. “While Iran has uranium mines that can supply its current nuclear program, Tehran has long said it wants to have a much larger industrial-scale civilian nuclear infrastructure. That would require large amounts of uranium, which experts say the country probably lacks. Securing Niger resources could plug that gap.”

Niger is quite far from Iran, but Iran is no stranger to long-distance supply lines. Niger’s uranium deposits could take Iran from developing one bomb to developing an entire arsenal.

To summarize, a Niger-Iran deal would put Iran that much closer to getting a nuclear weapon.

A prophecy the Trumpet uses when analyzing Iran is in Daniel 11: “And at the time of the end shall the king of the south push at him: and the king of the north shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over. … He shall stretch forth his hand also upon the countries: and the land of Egypt shall not escape. But he shall have power over the treasures of gold and of silver, and over all the precious things of Egypt: and the Libyans and the Ethiopians shall be at his steps” (verses 40, 42-43).

This is an end-time prophecy of two power blocs: “the king of the north” and “the king of the south.” Biblical and secular history point to a united European power as the king of the north. Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry has identified the king of the south as Iran and its allies.

Notice that Egypt, Libya and Ethiopia are conquered by the king of the north. This implies they are allied with, or subservient to, Iran.

Because of prophecies like Daniel 11, the Trumpet expects Iran to expand its proxy empire massively in Africa.

West Africa has no direct mention in the prophecy. But Daniel wrote that Iran would “push” at Europe. Gesenius’ Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon states this can mean to “strike with the horn, used of horned animals … used figuratively of a victor, who prostrates the nations before him.” It is a violent, humiliating provocation. Taking one of Europe’s chief uranium suppliers would be a provocative push.

To learn more, request Mr. Flurry’s free booklet The King of the South.