Venezuelan Mining Minister Rodolfo Sanz said on Friday that Iranian experts have carried out geophysical testing and aerial surveys to calculate the size Venezuela's uranium deposits.
The United States, which believes Iran is trying to build an atomic bomb, is worried about the leftist Chavez's increasingly close ties with the Middle Eastern nation.
"Our geophysical probes indicate we could have important uranium reserves," Sanz said, speaking in Venezuela's Margarita Island before the start of a two-day Africa-South America presidential summit.
Venezuela has for years known of its uranium deposits but has not studied them extensively and is not a uranium producer. The new research indicates the OPEC nation has large deposits in its mineral-rich Bolivar and Tachira states, Sanz said.
Chavez says Iran has a right to develop nuclear power for peaceful purposes and has vowed to help his ally sidestep threatened fuel sanctions over the program.