A senior Iranian Navy commander claimed that the country is in the initial phases of domestically designing a nuclear-powered submarine, the semi-official Fars news agency reported Tuesday.

Iran's Lieutenant Commander of the Navy for Technical Affairs Rear Admiral Abbas Zamini boasted of Iran's previous experience in designing and manufacturing submarines, according to the report.

Only a handful of states have successfully manufactured nuclear submarines, with India reportedly developing one of its own.

Zamini asserted that nuclear-powered submarines are among the civilian uses of nuclear power all countries are entitled to use.

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In recent months and years, the threat posed by the Iranian Navy has centered on its swift, small boat capabilities and fleet. In readiness for any potential war with the US Navy and regional allies, Iran's navy and Revolutionary Guard have poured resources into small gunboats.

That, military officials and analysts say, would allow them to launch potentially devastating "swarm" attacks.

Iran has said it would close off the Gulf if it were attacked by powers, including the United States and Israel, who accuse it of developing nuclear arms.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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