Tehran, projects nuclear ships in response to US embargo

Iranian President Rouhani wants to develop a nuclear-powered vessel. A response to the decision of the US Congress to extend punitive measures against Tehran. For experts it is not a very credible threat: too expensive without any real strategic benefits.

Tehran (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Iranian President Hassan Rouhani ordered experts and officials to develop nuclear-powered ships, accusing the United States of violating the international nuclear agreement reached last year with Tehran. In the past, the Islamic Republic had threatened the construction of nuclear ships.  However, experts say it would be a very costly endeavor, and without any real strategic benefits.

Last year, world powers signed an agreement aimed at the removal of sanctions against the Islamic Republic in the face of a check on the nuclear program.

However, recently the US Congress voted for the extension of the restrictive and punitive measures against Iran, provoking the indignation of the highest political and religious authorities in Tehran.

President Barack Obama is ready to sign the document, one of the last acts of the outgoing administration ahead of January 20, Donald Trump at the White House. US government sources also point out that the law will have no effect on the agreement and the international sanctions which will remain, to be reintroduced only in the event of material breach.

In an official statement, the Iranian president Rouhani criticized the decision of the Congress and asked its government officials to launch a program "for the design and production of nuclear fuel and reactors for maritime transport". He also announced that Tehran will present a formal protest to the watchdog

After years of embargo, Iran won a partial easing of Western economic sanctions in exchange for an agreement on its controversial nuclear programme. By and large, the international community welcomed the deal with few exceptions, most notably Israel and the Republican-controlled US Congress. The first moves of the new president  Trump remain to be seen. During the election campaign he had threatened to scrap the deal, but at the moment there are no certainties about the future moves of the next president.