Boston Herald: An admiral in Iran’s Navy says it has taken steps to design and build nuclear-powered submarines. This is one more sign that Iran seeks to build nuclear weapons. By Boston Herald Editorial Staff
An admiral in Iran’s Navy says it has taken steps to design and build nuclear-powered submarines. This is one more sign that Iran seeks to build nuclear weapons.
For maximum effectiveness, a submarine reactor commonly uses uranium fuel enriched to bomb grade, 90 percent or more of it being the isotope that sustains a chain reaction. So far, some of Iran’s uranium fuel — manufactured in defiance of United Nations Security Council directives — is known to be 20 percent enriched, ostensibly for fueling a reactor for medical use. It is far easier to go from 20 percent to 90 percent than it is to go to 20 percent from the 4 percent enrichment needed for electricity-generating reactors.
Iran doesn’t need a nuclear submarine. It has 16 mini-subs and three capable full-size Kilo class diesel-electric sub-marines obtained from Russia. Admiral Abbas Zamini said a nuclear-powered vessel was needed to “succeed in realizing very long-distance operations.” The most plausible of such — an unlikely high-risk operation — would use the sub as a stealth carrier of land-attack missiles.
A submarine plan could back up Iran’s announced determination to continue enriching uranium — now beyond 20 percent — in violation of the prohibition imposed by the Security Council for secrecy impermissible under the International Atomic Energy Agency. (The secrecy continues.)
Or maybe not. Another session of the endless discussions of Iran with the six nations trying to bring its rogue nuclear program under control opens in Moscow on Monday. It could be that a military faction that wants nuclear weapons hopes to torpedo the Moscow talks with an unacceptable new idea.
With Iran, expecting the worst has proved the best guide so far.