With indigenously developed technologies

Iran has commenced work on designing a nuclear submarine engine by pooling in elements of domestically developed technologies and using them for wider applications.

Senior naval commander, Rear Admiral Abbas Zamini, told the semi-official Fars News Agency (FNA) that the advances in civilian nuclear technology for use in power generation, agriculture and medicine had laid the foundations for the development of nuclear-fuelled submarines. “Since we have peaceful nuclear technology, we can put on the agenda the building of engine systems for nuclear submarines,” said Admiral Zamani.

The Iranian commander added that Iran intended to develop “super-heavy nuclear-powered submarines,” that could weigh around 18,750 tonnes.

Iran's recent experiences in successfully repairing heavy conventional submarines could yield useful know-how for the project. The website of the pro-government Kayhan International newspaper cited a statement in May by Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari that Iran had repaired heavy submarines, which had amply demonstrated lengthy blue-water endurance.

He pointed out that the Iranian navy's Tareq-class submarine had sailed in international waters and high-seas for 68 days after completing its anti-piracy mission in the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea. Iran has a fleet of 23 submarines, including three Russian Kilo-class attack vessels, and 12 midget submarines.

In tune with its advancements in nuclear technology, Tehran is considering joint ventures with other countries for developing new atomic power plants to meet a production target of 20,000 megawatts.

Iranian leaders have said that they would not hesitate to leverage some these gains to advance their diplomatic influence in their neighbourhood. Iran's Deputy Minister of Energy, Mohammad Behzad said on Monday apart from “electricity produced by thermal, gas-fuelled, combined cycle, and hydropower plants, nuclear electricity has been added to the country's power export basket”.

Iran's forays in nuclear technology are adding a sharper edge to Western concerns about the possible development of atomic weapons by Tehran. But a telephonic conversation on Monday between the European foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, who represents the six global powers, and Saeed Jalili, Iran's pointperson for the nuclear talks, signalled ahead of the June 18-19 talks in Moscow that the West was ready to exercise some flexibility. The Iranian daily Tehran Times is reporting that Ms. Ashton agreed during the conversation that the six powers, which include the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and Germany, were ready to discuss Iran's five proposals on nuclear and non-nuclear issues. The daily added that Iran wants the P5+1 group to officially acknowledge Tehran's right to nuclear enrichment. It added that Iran is ready to negotiate with the group, its 20 per nuclear enrichment activities. Iran's level of uranium enrichment is of major international concern, as enrichment beyond a 90 per cent level can yield fissile material that can be used in atomic warheads.

More In: International | News