Days before talks with Western powers over its disputed nuclear program, Iran reports that it has discovered new deposits of raw uranium and identified sites suitable for 16 more nuclear power stations.
State news agency IRNA cited a report by the Iran Atomic Energy Organization on Saturday that said the deposits, which were found in “southern coastal areas,” held three times the amount of uranium previously thought available.
There was no independent confirmation but Western experts had previously thought that Iran, with few uranium mines of its own, may be close to exhausting its supply of raw uranium.
Diplomats say the US, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany, the “P5+1”, are set to offer Iran some relief from their sanctions at the talks in Kazakhstan on Tuesday if it agrees to curb its production of higher-grade enriched uranium.
The West says the production demonstrates Tehran’s intent to develop nuclear weapons capability, an allegation which Iran denies.