In the past the United States used gasoline imports to leverage economic pressure on Tehran over its nuclear energy program, IRNA news agency reports.
The US pressure eventually forced Iran to convert some of its petrochemical plants to produce gasoline, a highly polluting process.
The production of petrochemical gasoline was halted when Hassan Rouhani became President. Imports resumed after Iran clinched a temporary nuclear agreement in 2013.
Iranians burn less than 70 million liters of gasoline a day, of which five million liters is imported, the minister said.
“With the completion of the Persian Gulf Star Refinery, 36 million liters (a day) will be added to the country’s gasoline and diesel production,” he said.
“And with the entry of one train of the refinery into generation, 12 million liters per day will be added to the country’s gasoline and diesel production. Half of this capacity is enough to dispense with gasoline imports next year,” Zangehen added.
When completed, the Persian Gulf Star Refinery in Assalouyeh will produce 360,000 barrels a day of gas condensates in addition to jet fuel and other products.
Iran is now building another oil refinery in its western province of Kermanshah.