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Iran Announces Plans to Build First Nuclear Submarine

By James Burgess | Wed, 11 July 2012 21:49 | 4

Iran has announced plans to start building its first ever nuclear submarine, a piece of advanced military technology that only the most powerful nations on earth are even able to construct; the interesting bit is that nuclear submarines just happen to run on uranium enriched to such a level that it can also double as the fuel source for a nuclear bomb.

Olli Heinonen, the former UN chief nuclear inspector, said that “such submarines often use HEU (highly enriched uranium),” yet due to the situation regarding Iran’s nuclear program, foreign nations will be reluctant to supply them with the HEU needed. Iran will then be able to “cite the lack of foreign fuel suppliers as further justification for continuing on its uranium enrichment path.”

Any step that Iran takes along this path will certainly increase global suspicions and destroy any progress made during the negotiations which have been taking place with the UN. It could even lead closer to a military confrontation which would devastate the global oil market.

Many experts, such as Mark Fitzpatrick, director of the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London, doubt Iran’s capability to build a nuclear submarine. Fitzpatrick flatly stated that “there is no way that Iran could build a nuclear-powered submarine.”

This leads them to agree with Shashank Joshi, a Middle East specialist at the Royal United Services Institute, when he claims that “Iran is using this submarine announcement to create bargaining leverage. It can negotiate away these 'plans' for concessions, or use the plans as a useful pretext for its enrichment activity.”

By. James Burgess of Oilprice.com

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  • Joe Varcadipane on July 15 2012 said:
    The issue is proliferation. Iran has funded, trained and supplied some of the most heinous organizations of the past half century. It may be easy to point the finger at Israel, but I don't recall Israel supplying or training insurgent groups in the art of killing American or coalition forces. When Iran stops funding, training, and supplying these organizations of mass destruction, then yes, they by all means should have the access to all the nuclear technology available. But seeing as they cannot be trusted with mortar shells and ball berrings, what makes anyone believe that they would not proliferate any new found nuclear technology. It may seem so distant and far off, places like Basra, Al Qaim or Diwaniya. But when the news breaks out of Seattle, Houston or Miami covered in a cloud of radioactive dust, talk of what the Isrealis have or have not done to the Palistieniens will seem a bit insignificant.
  • Philip Andrews on July 15 2012 said:
    Geopolitics I understand. Moralising I do not.

    While I mostly agree with the other reviewer, I can't agree with his 'I don't like the way Iran treats her population, or Israel the Palestinians'.

    Let me clarify; if the West is prepared to 'regime change' in Iran, or Iraq or Afghan in order to impose human rights aka Home Security and Gitmo plus Walmart and spiritual void on them, oh and extraordunary rendituion, why don't we invade Israel to regime change the administration in Jerusalem for one more favourable to the Palestinians? And put Israel under sanctions for having nukes?

    Is it really our business what other countries do internally? It keeps journos in jobs and newspapewrs, thevmedia in business. It keeps armies occupied invading places for 'moralistic reasons?' (if we want to get rid of the Taliban/al-Qaeda, why not also the Saudi Wahhabis...?).

    Western moraklising was confused nonswense in the 19C and its still confused today. What we like about how other countries deal internally is irrelevant. We are not the worlds moral nauthority or policemen. We don't even undwerstand why cultures behave as rthey do. Some journo gets on their high horse (often inspred by govt/commercial agendas) on the moralistic high ground for 2 seconds and everyone is shouting about it. Then trhe spotlight shifts and so does the 'moralistic crowds baying'.

    All to no effect. Nothing has changed fundamebntally in 100+ years. Except that thew moralistic West is in decline, but still shouting its moralistic disapproval as it goes under...

    Moralistic came from 19c Imperial Euro-American Christian and medieval Crusader ethics (we'll teach the heathen to be good Christians or we'll have their heads'). Nowadays its hollow and meaningless. And basically what other countries do internally is none of our business. We can't affect it, improve it or anything else. We just look foolish ultimately and powerless. Better look to our own bckyards...

    And understand geopolitics better
  • Mel Tisdale on July 13 2012 said:
    While Israel is allowed nuclear weapons, no one who supports that state of affairs has any right to deny Iran having them. I don’t like the way the Iranian leadership treats its population. But I like even less the far worse way Israel treats the Palestinians.

    If Israel is so scared of what Iran might be capable of if it had nuclear weapons, then Israel should stop and think how all of its neighbours feel about the nuclear capabilities it already possesses.

    I will believe that Israel wants peace when it stops bullying the Palestinians and disarms its nuclear arsenal. And I will believe the rest of the world wants peace when it forces Israel to comply with the UN resolutions against it, such as building settlements.

    As for Iran building a nuclear submarine, I assume it does not fail to comply with any treaties it might have signed, so why shouldn’t it? O.k., it might be a blatant bargaining chip in its quest to obtain nuclear weapons, but that is a problem the rest of the world created by not sensibly negotiating a route to global nuclear disarmament and then following it. ‘As ye sow, so shall ye reap.’
  • Philip Andrews on July 12 2012 said:
    Just as Iran couldn't build ballistic missiles to hit Israel and she couldn't possibly bring down the US most advanced UAV...

    Apart from the fact that noone in the West seems to KNOW anythung about Irans capblities beyond guesswork, there is an impression that everyone is so paranoid about them trhat reactions vary from the one extreme of 'they're so prmitive they couldn't possibly manage...' to 'OMG they're going to start building nnukes next year - lets destroy Iran tomorrow...'

    If Iran can build ICBMs, launch satellites into space and bring down under control US UAVs, then she has some serious technology capabilities. She might be getting help from the Chinese to build ships and subs. Noone said she would build a nuke sub without assistance.

    Or it could part of the Iranian Game of Bluff.

    We in the West simply don't know and have no way of knowing because we haven't sufficient HUMINT on the ground to make even a half intelligent guess. Where are the modern Robert Baers? We got rid of him/them because he/they were PinC and spoke the reality about ...Saudi. Saudi was not amused...

    Now the West is blind, deaf and dumb to Irans real intentions and stumbling badly. The psychology game is more rthan half the battle, and the Iranians are winning it because they know far more about the West's intentions than the West knows about theirs.

    In the end the West is hostage to Saudi and China. It dances to their tune, with Jerrusalem somewhere in the middle conducting the orchestra.

    What a sad but predictable state of affairs...

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