Iranian President Hassan Rohani has officially opened a refinery on the Persian Gulf that he says will make the country self-sufficient in gasoline production, a project he credits the 2015 nuclear deal for making possible.
Rohani on April 30 told reporters at the plant in Bandar Abbas that "self-reliance in petroleum production is a great honor for the Iranian people."
Bandar Abbas is 1,205 kilometers south of Tehran.
The plant was constructed by Khatam-al Anbia, the economic arm of Iran’s powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps.
Iran produces about 64 million liters of petroleum daily and imports 12 million liters to meet domestic demand.
The new refinery will make up that difference by producing 12 million liters a day in its first phase.
The plant will be capable of producing 36 million liters a day after it is completed in 2018, officials said.
Rohani said the 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, including the United States, helped allow the project to reach the operation stage by allowing necessary equipment to be imported into the country.
"This giant refining unit would never go online" if the deal had not been made, he said.
Rohani, who is campaigning for reelection in the May 19 presidential vote, has come under criticism from hard-liners for negotiating the deal they claim has brought little economic benefit to Iran.