Iran is asking the International Atomic Energy Agency for advice and assistance in developing a fleet of nuclear-powered ships, according to reports Sunday on Iranian government websites.
The websites say the request was made during a visit to Tehran by IAEA Director General Yukiyo Amano to monitor Iran's compliance with a landmark agreement curtailing its nuclear weapons in exchange for easing international sanctions.
The websites said President Hassan Rouhani told Amano he hoped Iran and the IAEA "can have good technical cooperation on the production of nuclear propellants for maritime transport," AFP reported.
Iran last week announced plans to develop a nuclear propulsion system for ships in apparent retaliation for U.S. Congressional action to authorize the renewal of Iran sanctions if Iran breaks the nuclear agreement.
Each side insists its actions do not violate the agreement. But the nuclear propulsion system proposed by Iran could require the enrichment of uranium beyond the limits permitted under the agreement.
In public remarks Sunday, Amano stressed the importance of full compliance with the terms of the agreement, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or JCPOA.
"Full implementation by Iran on this commitment is very important for the future of the JCPOA. The IAEA agrees that JCPOA is a net gain from the verification point of view."
Ali Akbar Salehi, the head of Iran's atomic energy organization, maintained at the same news conference the U.N. nuclear agency must not allow itself to be swayed by any parties.
"We have always insisted that the IAEA must act as a neutral authority and not allow the influence of others to be reflected in its reports."
The Iranian news agency IRNA quoted Amano as saying Iran has fulfilled its commitments under the JCPOA.