TEHRAN -- An Iranian parliamentary committee has approved a bill requiring the government to design nuclear-powered merchant ships and provide them with nuclear fuel, an Iranian news agency reported Sunday.
The bill appears to be a symbolic gesture to bolster Tehran's argument that it has a right to enrich uranium for peaceful purposes. The West suspects Iran's nuclear program is aimed at developing weapons technology, a charge Tehran denies.
Nuclear-powered vessels other than warships are rare. The International Atomic Energy Agency has said nuclear-powered merchant ships would not be economical.