Highly Enriched Uranium Would Be Fuel for Nuclear Submarines
Iranian MP Mansour Haqiqatpour, a top member in the Foreign Policy and National Security Committee, says that Iran will begin production of 60 percent enriched uranium if the current round of talks with the P5+1 fail.
The move to such highly enriched uranium would be seen as a provocative step by the West, though it should be pointed out that it still falls well below the threshold needed to produce nuclear weapons, which is over 90 percent enrichment.
The 60 percent enriched uranium would nominally be the level needed for fueling nuclear submarines, according to Haqiqatpour, but Iran’s Navy is not known to have any nuclear-powered submarines in the first place, so the need for such fuel is unclear.
At present most of Iran’s enrichment is dedicated to producing low-enriched uranium fuel for the Bushehr nuclear power plant, while a small but significant portion is being used to produce 20 percent enriched uranium in an attempt to construct fuel rods for the aging Tehran Research Reactor (TRR), which produces medical isotopes.
The extent to which Haqiqatpour’s comments are a serious “threat” to escalate the civilian program is unclear, and it could just be an effort at “tough diplomacy.” Iranian FM Ali Akbar Salehi was in the US today, insisting that they retain hopes for the talks, and reiterating that Iran would never produce a nuclear weapon, saying it was irrational to even try.
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