Iran to build nuclear-powered vessels in response to US 'violation'

Iran to build nuclear-powered vessels in response to US 'violation'
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Iran announced Tuesday that it will instruct its scientists to create nuclear-powered marine vessels in response to what it sees as a U.S. "violation" of a nuclear agreement with the nation.

Following the decision of Congress to extend a portion of U.S. sanctions against the country, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani revealed the orders to build a "nuclear propeller to be used in marine transportation," but would not clarify if the program will be used for producing nuclear-powered submarines, according to Reuters.

It is also unclear if Iran will enrich its uranium above the maximum level set by the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in order to properly develop such a technology.

The White House has maintained that Iran will not violate the terms of the nuclear deal and will not use the program to obtain a nuclear weapon.

"The announcement from the Iranians today does not run counter to the international agreement to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon," said White House spokesman Josh Earnest.

U.S. State Department spokesman John Kirby said many details are still unknown.

"There's a lot we don't know about it, what it means," Kirby said in reference to Rouhani's announcement, according to Reuters. He added that such a program is a "massive undertaking for any nation" and said it could potentially take decades.

Iran has been highly critical of U.S. lawmakers who have been campaigning to maintain pressure on Iran by keeping some of the sanctions intact. Iran's president has also criticized President-elect Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpFormer Watergate prosecutor: Trump taking the fifth would be political suicide Comey: I’m ‘embarrassed and ashamed’ by Republican party Comey, Anderson Cooper clash over whether memo release violated FBI rules MORE's tough rhetoric toward the country, pledging that he will not be able to dismantle the agreement when he takes office. 

"[Trump] wants to do many things, but none of his actions would affect us," Rouhani said during a speech at the University of Tehran last week.

"Do you think the United States can rip up the JCPOA? Do you think we and our nation will let him do that?” Rouhani said.