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MARCH 2021

Iran to Develop Nuclear Powerplant for Maritime Usage as Response to US ‘Violation’ of Deal

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The Iranian President has ordered to develop a nuclear powerplant, which could be used for marine transportation, in response to US ‘violation’ of the nuclear deal with Iran.

Iran to Develop Nuclear Powerplant for Maritime Usage as Response to US ‘Violation’ of Deal

Iranian military personnel stand on a submarine during a naval parade on the last day of the Velayat-90 war game in the Sea of Oman near the Strait of Hormuz (Photo: Reuters / Stringer Iran)

On Tuesday, the Iranian national nuclear agency has received a presidential order to start developing of a nuclear powerplant, which could be used for marine transportation. According to Iranian president Hassan Rouhani, the move became a response to US ‘violation’ of the nuclear deal with Iran.

The order was sent to head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, Ali Akbar Salehi, who should control the process of developing of reactors for maritime usage and fuel production for this purpose, both of which should be ready in three months.

As Rouhani noted, the order is the response of Tehran to the prolongation of anti-Iranian sanctions, the so-called Iran Sanctions Act, which was passed by US legislators.

The Iran nuclear deal, which was signed in 2015, was negotiated by Iran and six leading world powers. According to the deal, Iran agreed to restrict its nuclear industry in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions, imposed by the US, the EU and the UN Security Council. Tehran has held its part of the deal, however, according to the Iranian government, the anti-Iranian policy of the US is continued, as well as new sanctions were imposed against the country under different pretexts.

In December, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei warned that prolongation of the Iran and Libya Sanctions Act of 1996 (ILSA), which now targets only Tehran, puts the nuclear deal in jeopardy.

In addition, there are concerns that US President-elect Donald Trump will target the deal, after he takes office on January 20. So, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that he has at least five ideas in mind for Trump to undermine the nuclear deal with Iran.

A nuclear powerplant uses a nuclear power reactor in order to generate electricity on a vessel. Usually, such systems are used on strategic nuclear submarines, which are capable to stay submerged for weeks avoiding detection, as well as on some big surface ships, such as icebreakers and aircraft carriers. Currently, only Russia has nuclear-powered civilian vessels, mostly in its fleet of icebreakers. In the past, Germany and the US also had nuclear-propelled merchant ships, while the Japanese Mutsu ship was finished, but never carried commercial cargo.

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