President Hugo Chavez's government said Friday that Iran is helping to detect reserves of uranium in Venezuela.
Mining Minister Rodolfo Sanz said Iran has been assisting Venezuela with geophysical survey flights and geochemical analysis of the deposits.
Sanz said initial evaluations suggest significant uranium deposits in the west of the country and in southeastern Bolivar state. He told reporters at a summit meeting on Friday that efforts to certify the reserves could begin within three years.
Sanz dismissed suggestions that Venezuela could aid Iran with its nuclear program, saying Venezuela is seeking only to develop nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.
Chavez is a close ally of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.