Iran said it has found significant new deposits of raw uranium to feed its nuclear program and has identified sites for 16 more nuclear power stations, just days before talks with Western powers over its disputed atomic program.

The Iran Atomic Energy Organization report cited by state news agency IRNA on Saturday said the deposits were found in "southern coastal areas" and had trebled the amount outlined in previous estimates.

There was no independent confirmation but with few uranium mines of its own, Western experts had previously thought that Iran may be close to exhausting its supply of raw uranium.