Iran now has the ability to produce nuclear fuel for ships, although it has no immediate plans to upgrade the level of its uranium enrichment, according to a statement by the nation’s nuclear chief on Sunday.
ABC News reports that Fereidoun Abbasi stated that if the country decides to enrich its uranium further, they will first declare the need to do so to the U.N.’s International Atomic Energy Agency. Iran’s current program has enriched the country’s uranium to 20 percent.
An Iranian parliamentary committee has already approved a bill that requires the government to design nuclear-powered merchant ships and to also provide them with nuclear fuel.
Some lawmakers are also saying that the country should be enriching uranium to levels that are close to weapons grade, in order to produce fuel for their proposed nuclear-powered oil tankers.
Iran’s intelligence chief, Heidar Moslehi was also quoted as saying that they have arrested 30 suspects in connection with the assassination of a nuclear electronics expert last year, reports The Washington Post.
In his statement, Moslehi also accused Western intelligence agencies, like the CIA, Israel’s Mossad, and Britain’s MI6, of collaborating together to kill Iranian nuclear scientists in an effort to derail Iran’s nuclear program. While both the U.S. and Britain have dismissed the claim, Israel has stayed silent. More than five Iranian nuclear scientists have been killed in the past two years, and Iran hanged a man convicted for killing a nuclear physicist in early 2010.
The U.S., along with its allies, believe that Iran is attempting to enrich uranium to weapons-grade levels, although Iran continues to deny the claim.