Iran has discovered a large quantity of uranium and will soon begin mining it, according to a top Iranian official in charge of the country’s atomic program. Ali Akbar Salehi, head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, said on Saturday that the new discovery makes Tehran “confident” regarding its reserves of the natural element. Uranium is a key ingredient in the making of nuclear weapons.

Iran’s use of such materials is intended to be regulated under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the nuclear agreement between Iran and world powers, signed in Vienna in July. “I cannot announce (the level of) Iran’s uranium mine reserves. The important thing is that before aerial prospecting for uranium ores we were not too optimistic, but the new discoveries have made us confident about our reserves,” Salehi was quoted as saying by IRNA, a state news agency. FULL REPORT