On Thursday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani talked up Iran’s increasing self-sufficiency in fuel production. The comments came during the opening of the second phase of the Persian Gulf Star Refinery and Bandar Abbas.
Since the P5+1 nuclear deal allowed Iran to access much of its assets frozen internationally, they’ve been investing in improved infrastructure. Self-reliance on gasoline processing in particular is a priority. Rouhani noted that, if use was strictly limited, Iran could be self-sufficient right now. When the new refinery is fully up and running in the future, Iran will be totally self-sufficient.
Not only that, Iran may also be able to start exporting refined petrochemicals. While exporting crude oil is a vital part of Iran’s economy, a step up to refined petrochemicals would be a major money-maker for the nation, and further shield them from US sanctions attempts.
Efforts to become energy self-sufficient also continue on the nuclear energy side. Iran has restarted production at its uranium processing facility, which converts uranium ore into uranium hexaflouride gas. This gas is what is used in centrifuges to produce low-enriched fuel for Iran’s nuclear power plant at Bandar Bushehr. Though the P5+1 deal obliges Iran to keep its enrichment restricted to well-below full self-sufficiency, it does allow them to remain at least involved in the full process from mining uranium out of the ground to generating electricity with it.