Iran is building more nuclear plants after the country found new deposits of raw uranium. It has identified sites to 16 more nuclear power stations.
The announcement comes just days before Iran is set to resume talks over its disputed atomic program.
A report by the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) says that the reserves were found in northern and southern coastal areas, reports Reuters.
There is no independent confirmation of the uranium discovery. Fereydoun Abbassi-Davani, head of the AEOI, stated at the country’s annual nuclear industry conference:
“We have discovered new sources of uranium in the country and we will put them to use in the near future.”
The United States and several other countries have imposed crippling sanctions on Iran over the country’s nuclear program. The US and Israel believe that the Middle Eastern nation would consider using nuclear weapons to destroy Israel.
Iran’s announcement about new nuclear power plants comes just two days before the country will meet with the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France, and Germany in Kazakhstan.
The sanctions against Iran prevent the country from importing nuclear material, notes The Detroit Free Press. The country currently has a large stock of yellowcake uranium it acquired from South Africa and China. Yellowcake is a lightly processed substance.
While the US and other allies have expressed their fears that Iran plans to create a nuclear weapon, the Middle Eastern nation denies the accusations. Instead, they contest that the nuclear program is geared toward energy and nuclear medical radioisotopes for medical use.
Following the discovery of raw uranium in Iran, the country has started plans for 16 more nuclear plants. There is only one currently in existence. Despite the new plants, Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator, Saeed Jalili, stated:
“We are meeting all of our obligations under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and we should be able to benefit from our rights. We don’t accept more responsibilities and less rights.”
It is not clear what the reaction from world powers will be to Iran’s new-found uranium deposits.