Iranian President Hassan Rohani has announced the discovery of some 53 billion barrels' worth of crude-oil deposits in the country's southwest that could boost reserves by about one-third.
The news comes amid tightening U.S. sanctions and diplomatic efforts to cut off Tehran from the international market for its oil as the Trump administration continues to pile what it says is "maximum pressure" on Iran over its nuclear and weapons programs and other grievances.
"Today we are announcing to the United States that we are a rich country and despite your enmity and tyrannical sanctions the Iranian oil industry's workers and engineers have succeeded in discovering this vast oil field," Rohani said in a televised speech to a crowd in the central Iranian city of Yazd on November 10, according to Press TV.
He noted "pressure exerted by foreigners over the past year, during which our people had to go through difficult times."
Rohani said that Iran's economic situation is improving and inflation has been contained, Press TV reported.
Iran, a founding member of OPEC, sits on the world's fourth-largest reserves of oil and the second-largest reserves of natural gas, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).
Oil exports are a vital source of revenues for Iran, which has sought desperately to keep trade channels with China, Russia, and the West open in the face of the U.S. pressure.
The field spans some 2,400 square kilometers in the oil-rich Khozestan Province, Rohani said.
Rohani Says Billions Of Barrels In Oil Reserves Found In Southwestern Iran