Iran able to enrich uranium up to 60%,
Dubai, Nov 10 (Reuters) – Iran has discovered a new oilfield in the southwest of the country that has the potential to boost its reserves by about a third, President Hassan Rouhani said on Sunday.
“Workers and the exploration arm of the National Iranian Oil Company …have found an oilfield with 53 billion barrels of reserves,” Rouhani said in a televised speech in the central city of Yazd.
The field stretches over 2,400 sq km (927 sq miles) in the oil-rich Khuzestan province, Rouhani said.
Iran ranks as the world’s fourth-largest reserve holder of oil, and the second-largest holder of gas reserves, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).
Iran had an estimated 157 billion barrels of proved crude oil reserves in January 2018, the EIA website said.
Since withdrawing from Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, the United States has reimposed sanctions to strangle its vital oil trade.
Iran has the capacity to enrich uranium up to 60%, a spokesman for the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) said on Saturday, far more than is required for most civilian uses but short of the 90% needed to make nuclear bomb fuel.
“The organization has the possibility to produce 5%, 20% and 60%, and has this capacity,” AEOI spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi said during a news conference at the underground Fordow nuclear plant, the official IRIB news agency reported.
“At the moment, the need is for 5%,” he added.
Iran’s highest political authority, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said last month that the Islamic Republic had never pursued the building or use of nuclear weapons, which its religion forbids.
Iran said on Thursday it had resumed uranium enrichment at Fordow, stepping further away from its 2015 nuclear deal with world powers after the United States pulled out of it.
The pact bans production of nuclear material at Fordow, a highly sensitive site that Iran hid from U.N. non-proliferation inspectors until its exposure in 2009.
Inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will visit Fordow on Sunday, Kamalvandi said.
Since May, Iran has begun to exceed limits on its nuclear capacity set by the pact in retaliation for U.S. pressure on Tehran to negotiate restrictions on its ballistic missile program and support for proxy forces around the Middle East.
Iran says its measures are reversible if European signatories to the accord manage to restore its access to foreign trade promised under the nuclear deal but blocked by the reimposition of U.S. sanctions.