Iran discusses nuclear ships plan with IAEA chief

UN nuclear chief Yukiyo Amano met Ali Akbar Salehi on Sunday met the head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organisation in Tehran. (Reuters)

Iran discussed its plans for nuclear-powered ships with UN nuclear chief Yukiyo Amano on Sunday, saying it would present details within three months, local media reported.

Amano did not comment on the plans to produce nuclear-powered engines, but said Iran had so far met all of its commitments under last year’s nuclear deal with world powers.

“We discussed the nuclear-powered engines in detail,” said Ali Akbar Salehi, head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organisation, adding that he and Amano talked about the most controversial point - the level of uranium-enrichment required for the ships.

“This is not a simple matter that can be decided quickly. We have three months to review it,” he told reporters.

“Normally, the enrichment for such engines is between five percent and 90 percent. It depends on the type of engine and the time and goal we want to reach,” said Salehi.

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani last week announced the plans for nuclear-powered ships in response to news that the United States was renewing sanctions legislation, which he said was a “clear violation” of the nuclear deal.

Under the deal, Iran is only allowed to enrich uranium to 3.67 percent, but that limit falls away after 15 years.

Tehran says Washington has breached the nuclear accord by renewing the Iran Sanctions Act, even though almost all of its measures remain suspended under the deal. 

Bill extending US sanctions 

Meanwhile, the White House said on Thursday that a bill extending US sanctions against Iran for 10 years would become law without President Barack Obama’s signature, adding this would not affect overall implementation of the nuclear agreement.

The action by Iran to start developing systems for nuclear-powered marine vessels is expected to worsen tensions with Washington, already heightened by a promise by US President-elect Donald Trump’s to scrap the deal.

Iran on Saturday also requested a meeting of a commission comprising repesentatives of signatories to the accord that is overseeing its implementation.

“At the meeting, we brought up some of our complaints, and clarified some matters,” said Salehi, quoted by the semi-official Tasnim news agency.

“As we have repeatedly said, we will not violate the agreement, unless the other party does that.”

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:49 - GMT 06:49
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