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MIDEAST > Tehran plans to build nuclear-powered sub

TEHRAN / WASHINGTON

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Iran’s navy Chief Habibollah Sayyari briefs media on an upcoming naval exercise in this December 2011 photo. Iran will start to build nuclear-powered submarines. AP photo

Iran’s navy Chief Habibollah Sayyari briefs media on an upcoming naval exercise in this December 2011 photo. Iran will start to build nuclear-powered submarines. AP photo

Iran has taken “initial steps” to design its first nuclear-powered submarine, a deputy naval commander claimed in an interview with the Fars news agency, published yesterday.

“Initial steps to design and build nuclear submarine propulsion systems have begun,” Admiral Abbas Zamini, the technical deputy navy chief, told the agency. “All countries have the right to use peaceful nuclear technology, including for the propulsion system of its vessels,” he said, according to Agence France-Presse.The Iranian navy “needs the [nuclear-powered] propulsion system to succeed in realizing very long-distance operations,” he said.

Peres meets top US officials
The announcement comes as the P5+1 group of world powers are preparing for a new round of crunch talks with Iran in Moscow on June 18 and 19 over Tehran’s disputed nuclear activities. Meanwhile, Israeli President Shimon Peres met U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta at the Pentagon on June 11 and discussed Iran and the latest developments. “They consulted on the many areas of cooperation and the common challenges faced by the United States and Israel in the Middle East, including the ongoing violence in Syria, Iran’s nuclear ambitions, the Middle East Peace Process, and the U.S. commitment to preserving Israel’s Qualitative Military Edge,” Pentagon spokesman George Little said in a statement.

Peres visited the Pentagon as part of a multi-day visit to the U.S. in which he was scheduled to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom from U.S. President Barack Obama after meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. He also met with U.S. military chief Gen. Martin Dempsey. According to Jerusalem Post, Peres voiced Israel’s concerns about Iran potentially obtaining nuclear weapons, while praising western efforts to diplomatically neutralize Iran’s nuclear program.

June/13/2012

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