Iran developing nuclear submarine, says navy commander

Iran developing nuclear submarine, says navy commander
Iran's Navy commander said a powerful nuclear-propelled submarine was in the works at part of the country's renewed atomic programme.
2 min read
17 April, 2020
A truck carries a submarine during Tehran's Army Day parade [Getty]
The commander of the Iranian Navy said the force had embarked on developing nuclear-propelled submarines, while reaffirming the nation's commitment to advancing its nuclear programme.

Admiral Hossein Khanzadi said it would be "neglectful" for Iran to "not think about using nuclear propulsion in submarines," in remarks made to the state-affiliated Mehr news agency.

He added that the defence ministry was capable of producing vessels far superior to its current Fateh model, operate more than 200 meters below the sea surface for nearly five weeks.

Read also: Comment: Why sanctions on Iran should be lifted now

Nuclear powered submarines considerably outperform their diesel-electric counterparts: current models do not need to be refuelled for the entirety of their 25-year lifespans, meaning they only have to surface to restock food or other consumable supplies.

Khanzadi added that the relevant government agencies were working to advance the country's nuclear programme, maintaining that it was "peaceful" and for "defence readiness" only.

Iran informed the UN’s nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), of its plans to construct submarines with nuclear propulsion in 2018, according to The National Enquirer.

Currently, only the US, Russia, China, France, UK, and India possess nuclear submarines.

In 2015, Iran signed a nuclear deal with world powers, allowing inspectors access to sites and limiting production levels, in return for easing sanctions on the country.

The US pulled out of the agreement in 2018 and since then European powers have been desperately finding ways to keep the deal alive.

By March of this year, Iran had stockpiled enriched uranium five times higher than a limit set by a deal with world powers, according to the IAEA

This is considered by some nuclear experts to be a sufficient amount of material to work towards the production of a nuclear weapon but would still take several steps to make a bomb.

The watchdog also reported that Iran blocked its inspectors from visiting two undeclared nuclear sites in the country. 

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