Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad has arrived in Niger, the world's fourth-largest uranium producer.
Niger is the second of three stops on Ahmadinejad's visit to West Africa, which also includes Benin and oil-producing Ghana.
Ahmadinejad has been seeking closer economic and diplomatic ties with Africa as Iran becomes increasingly isolated by international sanctions targeting its disputed nuclear program.
Earlier on April 15 in Benin, Ahmadinejad defended Iran's nuclear program, calling it peaceful and a "divine gift."
Last week, Tehran announced it had opened two more uranium mines, as analysts say Tehran may be close to exhausting its reserves of uranium and could be forced to seek out foreign sources of supply.
Ahmadinejad steps down in June after completing the second of a maximum two terms as president.
Based on reporting by Reuters and AFP