International intelligence officials say that Iran has installed nearly 3,000 centrifuges at a nuclear site called Fordo, located under a mountain and inside a military base near the holy city of Qum, the Washington Post reported.
Meanwhile, the Iranian government is seeking to overcome the sanctions placed on the country by the West by growing closer to uninvolved Asian markets, and by investing in renewable energy in order to reduce its reliance on oil. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has been working to grow trade ties with countries such as Azerbaijan and Tajikistan.
“The Iranian economy is so strong that it could live without oil revenues. Our people could get accustomed to that, and I think that things will change in the near future,” Ahmadinejad said at a recent Pan-Asian summit in Kuwait, according to the Washington Times.
However, Turkmenistan recently canceled an oil contract with Iran and other central Asian countries are reevaluating their trade relationship with the country in the wake of the widening gulf between Iran and the West. “Iran has no choice but to turn to Asia for trade. But that, of course, will not solve Iran’s problem of selling its oil since the Central Asian countries, for the most part, do not need Iran’s oil,” said Sasan Fayazmanesh, an economic affairs expert and head of the Middle East Studies Program at California State University, Fresno.