DUBAI - Iran may in the future need highly enriched uranium to power submarines and other vessels, a top nuclear official was quoted as saying on Tuesday.
The comments by Fereydoun Abbasi-Davani, the head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization, are likely to stoke Western concerns about the nature of Iran's nuclear program, as uranium enriched beyond 20 percent fissile purity is a relatively short technical step from weapons-grade.
"For now we have no plans for enrichment above 20 percent," Abbasi-Davani said, according to the Fars news agency.
"But in some cases ... such as ships and submarines, if our researchers have a need for greater presence under the sea, we must build small engines whose construction requires fuel enriched to 45 to 56 percent.
"In this case, it's possible we would need this fuel."