JERUSALEM (JWN and agencies)—The Islamic Republic has begun designing its first nuclear submarine, Iran’s semiofficial Fars news agency reported on Tuesday.
The report quoted the Iranian Navy’s deputy chief of technical affairs, Rear Admiral Abbas Zamini, as saying that Iran has begun the “initial stages” of designing the atomic-powered vessel.
Zamini told Fars that Iran has made “astonishing progress in developing and acquiring civilian nuclear technology for various power-generation, agricultural, and medical purposes.” It has both the capability and the right to build a nuclear submarine, he declared.
The Fars report added that Tehran’s plan will display its “high capabilities in designing and manufacturing different types of submarines.”
In 2011, Iran launched a Tareq-class submarine, the Younus, which sailed alongside Tehran’s 14th fleet of into the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden.
Only a handful of states have successfully manufactured nuclear submarines, with India reportedly developing one of its own.
In recent years, the threat posed by the Iranian Navy has centered on its swift, small boat capabilities. To prepare for possible hostilities with the US Navy and its regional allies, the Iranian Navy and Revolutionary Guard have poured resources into small gunboats enabling devastating “swarm” attacks.
Iran has threatened to block Gulf waters if attacked by the United States or Israel, which have accused it of developing nuclear arms.
Last week the German magazine Der Spiegel reported that Israel’s fleet of Dolphin-class submarines, built and partially funded by Germany, are capable of launching nuclear-tipped cruise missiles. There have been rumors for years about the Israel Navy’s nuclear “second strike” capability as a deterrent to nuclear attack.
The cruise missiles are reportedly a modification of the Israeli-manufactured Popeye missile and can be launched from a submerged submarine by a sophisticated hydraulic system, Der Spiegel claimed.