Iran has discovered new uranium reserves in the center of the country, raising the possibility that it will now be able to mine all the uranium it needs for its nuclear program.

The head of Iran’s nuclear agency announced that the country has discovered a new source of uranium, overturning previous assessments that Iran would need to import uranium for its nuclear program. Under the nuclear deal, sanctions against companies involved in uranium mining in Iran are going to be lifted.

“I cannot announce [the level of] Iran’s uranium mine reserves. The important thing is that before aerial prospecting for uranium ored we were not too optimistic, but the new discoveries have made us confident about our reserves,” Ali Akbar Salehi, head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, was quoted as saying by the IRNA state news agency.

According to Salehi, the new reserves were uncovered in Yazd Province in central Iran, and mining will begin soon. He predicted that Iran would finish exploring for domestic uranium sources in the next four years.

US State Department spokesman John Kirby responded in a statement that the Iran nuclear deal’s provisions on the monitoring of uranium mines cover new discoveries in addition to existing reserves. “Any violation of [Iran’s] commitment would be met with the appropriate response,” he said.

Previously, western assessments indicated that Iran’s uranium reserves were too small and low-quality to completely supply its nuclear program.

By: Sara Abramowicz, United with Israel