(Newsroom America) -- Iran says it intends to build a nuclear submarine, a complex task that only the world's most advanced nations have so far managed to accomplish.
To do so, experts say, Iran will need to dramatically improve its uranium-enrichment process since nuclear-powered submarines use uraniun enriched to a level comparable to that needed for nuclear weapons.
The Iranian navy already fields conventionally powered diesel-electric submarines the Islamic republic reportedly purchased from the former Soviet Union in the early 1990s. Then, reports said Iran bought three Kilo-class subs which are extremely quiet and hard to detect.
Iran has since announced it has built an additional 17 Ghadir mini-submarines which it says are undetectable.
Many experts doubt Iran can construct atomic submarines.
Mark Fitzpatrick, director of the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London, told CNBC flatly "there is no way that Iran could build a nuclear-powered submarine."
Iran, in the past, has made dramatic claims about its ability to build certain weapns most experts believe Tehran is not capable of constructing.
"Iran is using this submarine announcement to create bargaining leverage. It can negotiate away these 'plans' for concessions, or use the plans as a useful pretext for its enrichment activity," Shashank Joshi, a Middle East specialist at the Royal United Services Institute, told CNBC.com, noting Iran will try to use the planned nuke sub construction as a way to improve its uranium processing infrastructure.
The U.S. and much of the West believe Iran is secretly developing nuclear weapons, a claim Tehran has repeatedly denie.
© 2012 Newsroom America.