TEHERAN, Iran — Iran said Tuesday it had discovered higher uranium reserves than previously thought at a key southern mine and was stepping up exploration of the ore — which is the basis for the country's nuclear program — across the nation.
Nuclear chief Ali Akbar Salehi said the new reserves were found at Iran's only operating uranium mine near Bandar Abbas in southern Iran, 840 miles (1,340 kilometers) south of the capital, Teheran.
He said "exploration and extraction of uranium ore is being conducted simultaneously," which "gives life to the Bandar Abbas mine by several more years."
Salehi, who is one of Iran's vice presidents, said the government has also provided funds to begin ore extraction at Saghand, the mine with largest uranium reserves in the country. Saghand has not yet become operational.