Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Sunday a new oilfield containing 53 billion barrels of crude had been discovered in the country.
Hassan Rouhani said that the discovered field was located in Iran's oil-rich Khuzestan province.
The discovery of a new oilfield would boost Iran's proven crude oil reserves by a third. At the moment, Iran has some 150 billion barrels of crude oil reserves.
In January, the International Energy Agency (IEA) presented a report in which it stated that oil production in Iran, constrained by US sanctions, dropped by 520,000 barrels per day (bpd) in December, down from 2.8 million bpd in October.
The US reinstated energy-related sanctions against Iran last year after withdrawing from the 2015 nuclear deal, aimed at bringing Iran's oil exports to zero and pressuring it to negotiate a new agreement. Iran has been reluctant to cave in to pressure from the United States and started rolling back some of its nuclear commitments.
The US sanctions, however – which also discourage foreign companies from doing business with Iran – have prompted the country to search for ways to avoid them, and exporting crude from just outside the Persian Gulf may well be one of them.