Tehran, June 13 (IANS) Iran has begun development of its own nuclear-powered submarine, the Iranian fleet’s deputy commander Vice-Admiral Abbas Zamini said.
Commenting on Iran’s growing capabilities in domestic submarine development, Zamini said Tehran is already taking the first steps toward creating nuclear-powered boats, RIA Novosti reported citing FARS news agency.
“Right now we are at the initial stages of creating nuclear submarines,” he said.
Use of atomic energy for submarine propulsion is not in contravention of any international agreements, he added.
The US and many European states suspect Iran of using its domestic civil nuclear programme as a cover for a nuclear weapons development, a charge Tehran denies, insisting the programme is only for generating electricity.
In February, the US increased the sanctions it has in place against Iran. Tehran is also under sanctions following four UN Security Council resolutions regarding its nuclear programme.
The Iranian Navy currently operates three Russian-built Project 877 (Kilo class) diesel-electric submarines and a few very small domestically-made boats.
Currently, only the navies of China, France, India, Russia, Britain and US operate nuclear-powered submarines.
Israel operates conventionally-powered submarines which may be armed with a nuclear-tipped cruise missile according to German officials quoted in Israel’s Haaretz newspaper.