Iran finds new uranium deposits, selects 16 nuclear sites

MOSCOW. February 24. KAZINFORM Iran has found more uranium deposits and selected 16 new sites for nuclear power plants, the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) said on Saturday.

"Following months of efforts, 16 new sites for nuclear power plants have been designated in coastal areas of the Caspian Sea, the Persian Gulf, the Sea of Oman, [southwestern province of] Khuzestan and northwestern part of the country," Iran's Press TV cited the organization's statement.

The organization said Iran has discovered significant uranium deposits to feed its nuclear program. The discovery will "further improve [Iran's] position among countries possessing nuclear technology," it said.

Iran's known mineral reserves have reportedly increased by four and a half times compared with 35 years ago during the last 18 months, the report said.

The latest announcement comes ahead the upcoming round of talks between Iran and a group of international mediators on Iran's controversial nuclear program, due in Kazakhstan.

Iran and the group of countries comprising Britain, China, France, Russia, the United States and Germany, known as P5+1, have held three rounds of talks over the Iranian nuclear issue last year, following a one-year break in the negotiations, Kazinform has learnt from RIA Novosti.

These talks, however, did not result in a breakthrough, as the sides cannot agree on the true nature of Tehran's nuclear ambitions.

The United States, Israel and some of their allies accuse Iran of pursuing military objectives in its nuclear energy program.

Iran rejects these allegations, arguing that as a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and as a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency, it is entitled to develop and acquire nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.

Russia has repeatedly expressed concern over the slow pace of the nuclear talks with Iran, and stressed the need for the new meeting to be held as soon as possible.

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