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Iran discusses nuclear ships plan with IAEA chief

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A handout picture provided by the office of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on December 18, 2016 shows him (R) greeting Yukiya Amano (L), Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), ahead of their meeting in the capital Tehran.  HO / IRANIAN PRESIDENCY / AFP

A handout picture provided by the office of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on December 18, 2016 shows him (R) greeting Yukiya Amano (L), Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), ahead of their meeting in the capital Tehran.<br />HO / IRANIAN PRESIDENCY / AFP

Iran discussed its plans for nuclear-powered ships with UN nuclear chief Yukiyo Amano on Sunday, saying it would present details within three months, local media reported.

Amano did not comment on Tehran’s plans to produce nuclear-powered engines, but said Iran had so far met all of its commitments under last year’s nuclear deal with world powers.

President Hassan Rouhani told Amano he hoped “Iran and the IAEA can have good technical cooperations on the production of nuclear propellants for maritime transport,” the government’s website reported.

In an earlier meeting, Ali Akbar Salehi, head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organisation said they “discussed the nuclear-powered engines in detail,” adding that talking points included the most controversial one — the level of uranium-enrichment required for the ships.

“This is not a simple matter that can be decided quickly. We have three months to review it,” he told reporters.

“Normally, the enrichment for such engines is between five percent and 90 percent. It depends on the type of engine and the time and goal we want to reach,” said Salehi.

Rouhani last week announced the plans for nuclear-powered ships in response to news that the United States was renewing sanctions legislation, which he said was a “clear violation” of the nuclear deal.

Under the deal, Iran is only allowed to enrich uranium to 3.67 percent, but that limit falls away after 15 years.

Tehran says Washington has breached the nuclear accord by renewing the Iran Sanctions Act, even though almost all of its measures remain suspended under the deal.

“We adhere to our commitments and we will not trigger the violation of commitments,” Rouhani said after meeting with Amano, repeating that the renewal of sanctions “contradicts” the accord.

“As long as the other sides remain committed to their commitments in the (nuclear deal), the Islamic Republic of Iran will continue to act on its commitments.”


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