President: US disappointed due to Iranians’ resilience, unity
Iran has discovered a new oilfield containing 53 billion barrels of crude, President Hassan Rouhani said Sunday, a find that would increase Iran's proven reserves by over a third.
“Workers and the exploration arm of the National Iranian Oil Company ... have found an oilfield with 53 billion barrels of reserves,” Rouhani said in a televised speech in the central city of Yazd.
He said the field covers 2,400 square kilometers (926 square miles) and is located in Iran's southwestern province of Khuzestan, home to Iran’s crucial oil industry.
"This is a small gift by the government to the people of Iran," the president added.
The 80-meter-deep field stretches nearly 200 kilometers from Khuzestan's border with Iraq to the city of Omidiyeh, Rouhani added.
Oil reserves refer to crude that’s economically feasible to extract. Figures can vary wildly by country due to differing standards, though it remains a yardstick of comparison among oil-producing nations.
The find would add around 34 percent to the OPEC member's current proven reserves, estimated by energy giant BP at 155.6 billion barrels of crude oil.
Iran is a founding member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and sits on what were already the world's fourth-biggest oil reserves and second-largest gas reserves.
The new oilfield could become Iran’s second-largest field after one containing 65 billion barrels in Ahvaz.
Since withdrawing from Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, the United States has reimposed unilateral sanctions to strangle its vital oil trade.
The remaining parties to the accord – Britain, France, Germany, Russia, and China – have worked to save it by avoiding US sanctions, but their efforts have so far borne little fruit.
They have so far offered no means by which Iran can sell its oil abroad. Iran since has gone beyond the deal’s stockpile and enrichment limits, as well as started using advanced centrifuges barred by the deal. It also just began injecting uranium gas into centrifuges at an underground facility.
“I am telling the White House that in the days when you sanctioned the sale of Iranian oil and pressured our nation, the country’s dear workers and engineers were able to discover the big field,” Rouhani said.
"Today we are announcing to the US that we are a rich country and despite your enmity and tyrannical sanctions," he added.
"The first thing I would like to emphasize here is that we have withstood the pressure exerted by foreigners over the past year, during which our people had to go through difficult times," Rouhani said.
He called on Iranians not to let "America's wishes rise from the larynx of a few people, even though they are very limited in number."
The president said the Iranian people's "resilience and unity and their ceaseless efforts have brought us to the point where the United States, in my opinion, has become disappointed."
It’s been one year and a half since President Donald Trump pulled the United States out of the nuclear deal with Iran and embarked on a policy of “maximum pressure.”
Trump says he aims to negotiate a better agreement with Iran and his policy will bring the Iranians to the table for that new deal.
However, the maximum pressure policy has not succeeded in bringing Iran to the negotiating table or curbing its regional activities across the Middle East as sought by Washington.
AFP, AP, Reuters and Press TV contributed to this story.