A semiofficial Iranian news agency is reporting that the country has begun to design its first nuclear submarine.
The Tuesday report by Fars quotes the deputy navy chief in charge of technical affairs, Admiral Abbas Zamini, as saying Iran has begun "initial stages" of designing the nuclear-powered craft.
Adm. Zamini says Iran has developed "peaceful nuclear technology" and has both the capability and the right to build a submarine.
Iran and the West are odds over Tehran's nuclear program. The U.S. suspects it is aimed at developing weapons technology, a charge Iran denies.
Iran has domestically built several small submarines over the past years. It has recently overhauled one of the three non-nuclear Russian Kilo-class submarines it bought in 1990s.
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