Iran Says It Plans Nuclear-Powered Submarine
Iran said it has begun preparations to produce a nuclear-powered submarine, providing an argument for producing weapons-grade fuel, ahead of its next round of international nuclear negotiations.
The U.S., Israel and the United Nations nuclear agency have long worried that Iran would seek such a justification to enrich uranium above the weapons-grade level of 90% purity. Officials have pointed to Iran's deliberations about beginning research and development for nuclear-fueled submarines.
On Tuesday, a senior Iranian naval official told state media that his country had already begun the process.
"Right now, we are in the initial phases of manufacturing atomic submarines," the deputy commander of the Iranian navy for technical affairs, Rear Adm. Abbas Zamini, told Iran's semi-official Fars News Agency.
Adm. Zamini "further reminded that using nuclear power to fuel submarines is among the civilian uses of the nuclear technology and all countries are, thus, entitled to the right to make such a use," the report said.
The Fars News Agency is associated with Iran's elite military unit, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, which the U.S. believes is a driving force behind Iran's nuclear program. Tehran says its nuclear program is peaceful and solely focused on civilian applications.
Iran is seen to be far from capable of building a nuclear-powered submarine. The State Department said it was aware of the report and remains worried about Tehran's intentions.
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