Infographics > Revelations about the Status of the Iran Regime’s Nuclear Bomb Making Apparatus

Revelations about the Status of the Iran Regime’s Nuclear Bomb Making Apparatus

On Friday, 21 April 2017, the National Council of Resistance of Iran, U.S. Representative Office held a press conference at the Willard InterContinental Hotel in Washington, DC exposing yet another nuclear site of Iran. NCRI-US provided detailed information about the continuation of work by the organization responsible for nuclear weaponization, known as SPND, highlighting once again that Iran continues to adamantly pursue a nuclear weapon.

At the press conference, NCRIUS Deputy Director, Alireza Jafarzadeh, using a power point presentation, showed maps, graphs, and charts of the covert organization as well as names of individuals involved in the weaponization program.

At the new site, named “Research Academy,” the Iranian regime has used a military facility in Parchin to hide its activities and continue work on weaponization.

Soona Samsami, the U.S. Representative of the NCRI, called on the IAEA to immediately inspect the nuclear sites, and called on the international community to halt Iran’s enrichment program and called for dismantling all covert sites of Iran involved in nuclear weapons research and development.

The conference gained significant attention from the media, while it was also live cast on NCRIUS website, and all its social media tools.

Below is the details as provided at the conference by Alireza Jafarzadeh.

Reliable information obtained by the network of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (MEK) inside the country shows that the “nerve center” of the Iranian regime’s nuclear weapons project, responsible for designing the bomb, has been continuing its work.

Following the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), known as the nuclear deal reached in 2015, not only has the unit remained in place and its activities have not subsided, but it is now clear that in some fields its activities have even expanded.

In this information, a new location tied to the nuclear weapons project, which has been kept a secret until now and away from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors has been exposed.

Situation of the engineering unit for nuclear weapons

The engineering unit for nuclear weapons program inside the Iranian regime is called the Organization of Defensive Innovation and Research (Sazman-e Pazhouheshhaye Novin-e Defa’i), known by its Persian acronym SPND. The organization is comprised of 7 subdivisions, each of which carrying out a certain portion of nuclear weapons research.

Following several months of focused investigations and research conducted from inside the clerical regime including from the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), the Defense Ministry, and SPND and following the compilation of reports on all the seven subdivisions of SPND, it has been determined that all of SPND’s subdivisions continue their work on the same scale as prior to the 2015 nuclear deal. They are carrying out their research in various fields related to the manufacturing of a nuclear weapon. In some of these fields, new initiatives have also been undertaken in order to keep the real objectives of the research a secret and to cover up the real activities.

The results of the investigations by the Iranian Resistance are based on onsite observations and reports compiled by dozens of sources affiliated with the MEK network inside the regime, including within the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), the Defense Ministry, and SPND.

The National Council of Resistance of Iran first revealed the existence of SPND in July 2011 in Washington, DC.[1] Three years later, SPND was designated by the U.S. Department of State on August 29, 2014, under Executive Order (E.O.) 13382.[2]

The latest on SPND

Mohsen Fakhrizadeh Mahabadi, also known as Dr. Hassan Mohseni, is the key individual in the regime’s nuclear weapons program. He is a veteran IRGC brigadier general and continues to head SPND.[3] Since the implementation of the latest changes within SPND during the presidency of Hassan Rouhani, this organization has been placed under the direct supervision of Brig. Gen. Hossein Dehqan, Rouhani’s Defense Minister.[4] All of SPND’s personnel and experts are continuing their activities and there have been no changes to the structure of the organization. (SPND chart enclosed)

The organization’s headquarters is located at “Nour (Light) Building,”[5] which is situated near the headquarters of the Defense Ministry on Langari Avenue in Tehran. (Satellite imagery enclosed) One of Fakhrizadeh’s offices is in this building.

Situation at two key SPND organs, expansion of activities at METFAZ

Two of the seven subdivisions of SPND play the most significant roles:

The first, Center for Research and Expansion of Technologies on Explosions and Impact (METFAZ) works on the trigger and high-impact and nonconventional explosions.

The second, Fakhar Moqaddam Group, works on uranium enrichment and enriched uranium. 

The Center for Research and Expansion of Technologies for Explosion and Impact

The unit responsible for conducting research and building a trigger for a nuclear weapon is called the Center for Research and Expansion of Technologies for Explosion and Impact (Markaz-e Tahghighat va Tose’e Fanavari-e Enfejar va Zarbeh), known by its Farsi acronym as METFAZ.

The director of this unit is currently an engineer named Mohammad Ferdowsi, who has been working at the Defense Ministry since 1986 and is a high-explosive expert. At the same time, he is the chairman of the board of directors of the High-Explosive Society of Malek Ashtar University (affiliated with the Defense Ministry).[6]

In September 2009, the NCRI revealed the existence of METFAZ as well as the location of its tests in the Khojir military district in eastern Tehran.[7] The site is located in the Khojir military road leading to the Parchin military industrial site, and adjacent to Sanjarian Village. (Satellite imagery enclosed)

However, the most recent investigation reveals that METFAZ conducts its main activities in another location, which has thus far remained a secret and away from the IAEA.

The “Research Academy”: METFAZ’s secret location

The new intelligence reveals the existence of a new location, which is identified in SPND’s internal communications with the codename “Research Academy” (Pazhouheshkadeh). The Research Academy, in the internal communications of SPND, is also referred to as “Research,” (Tahghighat). This location has become the main center for METFAZ’s tests and other activities.

Following the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in 2015, in order to avoid blowing the cover on METFAZ’s activities, a large portion of the activities conducted at METFAZ in Sanjarian, as well as the personnel working at the site, were transferred to the Research Academy situated within Parchin. The move resulted in the subsiding of activities at the Sanjarian site. The Iranian regime has done its utmost to keep the Research Academy, which is an important site, a secret from the eyes of international organizations. The reason for the move was based on the conclusion reached by regime officials that the probability for the IAEA to get access to Parchin in the future is extremely low, which means that the site is an optimal location for shielding the regime’s activities in this regard.

The Research Academy is located within the Parchin site, which is a large military district about 30 miles south eastern Tehran, controlled by the Defense Ministry. There are 12 military and missile complexes in Parchin. The Defense Ministry calls each one of these industrial units a “Plan” (Tarh). Specifically, they are codenamed Plan 1, Plan 2 … Plan 12. The METFAZ center is situated at Plan 6 of the Parchin military industries and is called the Chemical Plan of Zeinoddin. The geographical area of the unit (plan) is about 500 acres. It is completely fenced in and fully protected.

In order to conceal the true nature of its activities, the Research Academy conducts its research and activities under the cover of conventional research and tests related to Plan 6. Plan 6, known as Zeinoddin Industries, is a part of chemical industries of Parchin complex.

Directions to Plan 6 of Parchin, which houses METFAZ’s Research Academy, is as follows: The end of Babai highway, Khojir-Parchin military road, after the tunnel on the southern side of Mamlo Dam. Entering into Parchin from the IRGC (Pasdaran) entrance, Plan 6 is located on the left side. (Satellite imagery enclosed)

Based on the newly-obtained information, it became clear that the plan to identify a back-up location for METFAZ’s Sanjarian site was set in motion in 2005 by then-Deputy Defense Minister Brig. Gen. Ali Hosseini-tash.[8] In early 2005, work to build tunnels to accommodate the activities of METFAZ began at Plan 6 at Parchin.

Pars Garma, an established company within the regime’s military industries, built the tunnels.[9] The CEO of the company is currently Mojtaba Qanbari.

One of the managers directly involved in the building of SPND tunnels in Plan 6 district of Parchin was an engineer named Abbas Rashidpour. An employee of Pars Garma, Rashidpour was the manager of the METFAZ Plan 6 project. The construction project took four years to complete. The facilities were handed over to the main client, SPND, METFAZ section, in 2009.

Over the past two years, the bulk of METFAZ’s activities including those at Sanjarian site have been transferred to Plan 6 in Zeinoddin industries at Parchin. They have various silos and factories at the site. The Research Academy is located at the heart of Plan 6. Employees and personnel at the site enter and exit the facilities through the “Gate of Plan 6.” However, the Research Academy itself is completely independent and closed off.

It is worth noting that the chamber related to high explosives with respect to the regime’s nuclear projects and specifically the high-explosive trigger, is run by METFAZ, which ran the activities related to tests with the help of Ukrainian experts. The location of the high explosive chamber and preliminary tests for explosions, which was razed during 2013 and 2014, is at the southern part of the Research Academy at a distance of around 700 meters.

Extreme protective measures to avoid leaking of information on Research Academy

In order to avoid the leaking of intelligence and information on the Research Academy of Zeinoddin, the location is under heavy surveillance and control by the IRGC Intelligence’s protection service. The commander of the intelligence protection of this section is Brig. Gen. Mostafa Siri, who is also SPND’s head of intelligence protection.

Siri has been a Defense Ministry intelligence protection official since 1999. Since the protection of intelligence on SPND is extremely sensitive for the Defense Ministry, for the past several years, Siri has been appointed as the head of the intelligence protection unit of SPND. He has recruited a number of trusted allies, including several of his relatives, to work in METFAZ and SPND intelligence protection units.

Revelations regarding a number of METFAZ personnel and experts

The NCRI has verified the identities of 15 METFAZ personnel.

Partial List of METFAZ Personnel
No Name Position
1 Mohammad Ferdowsi (engineer) Head of Center for Research and Expansion of Technologies for Explosion and Impact (METFAZ), Research Academy at Plan 6
2 IRGC Brig. Gen. Mostafa Siri Chair of the intelligence protection unit of SPND and Research Academy of Zeinoddin
3 Davarzani Head of Health and Safety of METFAZ at Plan 6 (Zeinoddin)
4 Massoud Sediqi Divani Expert working at research arm of METFAZ
5 Alireza Molai Expert working at research arm of METFAZ
6 Heydari Expert working at research arm of METFAZ
7 Khosravi Expert working at research arm of METFAZ
8 Ali Mahdipour Emrani Expert working at construction section of METFAZ
9 Reza Ebrahimi Expert working at construction section of METFAZ
10 Mojtaba Dadashnezhad Expert working at the testing center of METFAZ
11 Khosrow Kashen Zare METFAZ expert
12 Karimi METFAZ administrative and financial manager
13 Ajini Works at the central office of intelligence protection for METFAZ
14 Mohammadi Souri Expert working at Research Academy at Plan 6 Zeinoddin
15 Alireza Souri Expert working at Research Academy at Plan 6 Zeinoddin

Fakhar Moqaddam Group

The Fakhar Moqaddam Group works on physics research for SPND. This group is continuing all of its activities at full capacity.[10] The group has an office at the Nour Building and another office at the Mojdeh site.[11]

The head of the group is Mohsen Foroughizadeh Moqaddam, who works out of the Nour Building. One of the test centers of the Fakhar Moqaddam Group is located near the Nour Building. One of the experts of the Group is Eliasi, the coordinator of joint research for SPND and Malek Ashtar University.[12] One of the other experts is Arezovaji, who is a scientific and new technologies liaison for Fakhar Moqaddam.

One of the SPND experts who heads the gas identification and illumination program is an individual named Hashemi.

 Other active SPND centers in current circumstances

According to the new information, in addition to the above-mentioned sites, SPND organization has an extensive number of secret locations. Some of its test centers are situated within Tehran’s city boundaries. Other sections are located in the outskirts of Tehran. The organization also has centers located in the outskirts of Karaj.

The imperative for inspecting the military-nuclear centers of SPND

The SPND organization has a significant number of secret centers. In the past, the Iranian Resistance has exposed 15 sites and front companies tied to SPND including the following:

The Nour Building located at Langari Avenue in northern Tehran. It is considered to be the headquarters of SPND.

The Mojdeh site in Pasdaran Avenue, Mojdeh Avenue. It used to be the headquarters of SPND in the past, but some of its activities were later relocated out of the site.

METFAZ site located at Sanjarian village near Jajroud River.

Research Academy located at Plan 6 of Parchin.

Khojir site where a portion of activities related to the manufacturing of nuclear warheads in “Nouri Industries” are carried out at the location, codenamed 8500.

In order to understand the regime’s secret and illicit activities, it is critical that the IAEA inspect and monitor not only the Research Academy, but also all other sites related to SPND. This will help shed light on the scope of the regime’s secret military and nuclear activities.

By claiming that military sites are out of scope for the IAEA’s investigation, inspection and monitoring, the Iranian regime has effectively created a protective shield for its nuclear weapons program. There have been no serious inspections of the regime’s military sites so far. Major General Hassan Firouzabadi, the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said in an interview with the state-run Tasnim News Agency in November 2016 that the regime has not allowed inspections of military sites.

Failure to access key experts involved in the nuclear weapons program, including Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, has prevented the IAEA from grasping the true nature of the nuclear program.

What To Do

Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, the President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, has stated time and again, including on November 24, 2013 immediately following the initial agreement of P5+1 with the clerical regime, that if the world powers had acted steadfastly, without economic and political considerations, they could have totally contained the regime’s bomb-making apparatus in that round of negotiations. She had warned: Total implementation of the UN Security Council resolutions, in particular total stop of enrichment, accepting the Additional Protocol, and free and unhindered access of the IAEA inspectors to all suspected centers and facilities, are necessary in order for the regime to give up its drive to acquire nuclear weapons.

President Trump has pointed out the deficiencies of the JCPOA and the dangers it poses.  Secretary Tillerson said the JCPOA “represents the same failed approach to the past,” which “fails to achieve the objective of a non-nuclear Iran.”

In light of the above and in order to prevent the world from dealing with a nuclear-armed fundamentalist regime in Iran, the following steps are indispensable:

As several U.N. Security Council resolutions stated, Iran’s uranium enrichment program needs to be ended completely; the nuclear enrichment program has only one objective and that is to obtain the fissile material needed for the Bomb.

The weaponization program must be totally dismantled. There is no reason to maintain SPND, and all its subordinate organizations, including METFAZ. They have no peaceful, energy use whatsoever and, their only function is to facilitate the development of the nuclear bomb.

Exerting airtight control over all the aspects of the regime’s nuclear program and permanent, unhindered and immediate access to all sites, above-mentioned locations, and access to, and interviews with, the key nuclear experts, including Mohasen Fakhrizadeh and his subordinates must be conducted immediately.

All the outstanding questions regarding the Possible Military Dimension (PMD) of the nuclear program need to be followed up to expose the full scope of the nuclear weapons program of Iran.

[1] Opposition: Iran consolidates nuclear bomb effort, USA Today, July 23, 2011; https://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/washington/2011-07-23-iran-nuclear-program_n.htm#mainstory

[2] Additional Sanctions Imposed by the Department of State Targeting Iranian Proliferators, Department of State, August 29, 2014; https://2009-2017.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2014/231159.htm

[3] Brigadier General Mohsen Fakhrizadeh Mahabadi is a member of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and the main figure for the regime’s nuclear weapons development program. He attended the third North Korean nuclear test in February 2013 as an observer. Although the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has on multiple occasions requested an interview with him, the Iranian regime has refused. Due to his involvement in the regime’s nuclear weapons program, his name was listed among other sanctions individuals on the UN Security Council’s Resolution 1747 in March 2007.

[4] Brig. Gen. Hossein Dehqan has been Rouhani’s Defense Minister since 2013. He was the second commander of the IRGC air force in the regime and acted as the Deputy Defense Minister during the seventh and eighth presidential administrations.

[5] Nour Building: The building houses the headquarters of SPND, and its existence was first revealed by the Iranian Resistance in October 2013. The building is situated near the regime’s Defense Ministry at Langari Avenue in North Tehran.

[6] Mohammad Ferdowsi has been working at the Office of Scientific Research and Technological Development of the Defense Industries Organization since 1986. Ferdowsi is an expert in the field of high-impact explosives at Malek Ashtar University. The committee, which includes high-explosive experts, works at Malek Ashtar University and professional units of the Defense Ministry.

[7] Khojir site is located in eastern Tehran near Jajroud River. There are two missile industry complexes within this site: Hemmat and Bakeri. These are the main locations for the manufacturing of the regime’s ballistic missiles. Both of these industrial complexes include several factories and manufacturing units, which are located in tunnels and underground facilities.

[8] Brig. Gen. Ali Hosseini-tash at the time headed, The “Center for Preparedness of Advanced New Defense Technologies, the organ which at the time was responsible to lead the regime’s nuclear weapons project and was later changed into SPND.

[9] The Pars Garma Construction and Industrial Company, which is known simply as Pars Garma is an engineering and construction company affiliated with the Defense Ministry. It was set up during the Shah’s regime. Currently, it is carrying out projects such as building tunnels and engineering designs for the Defense Ministry. The address of the company’s office is: No. 46, Erfani Street, off Manzarieh Exit of Sadr highway, Tehran.

[10] The Fakhar Moqaddam Group: SPND has 7 subdivisions organized based on their sphere of work. The group tied to physics research is the “Center for Preparedness of Advanced New Defense Technologies,” known by the codename Fakhar Moqaddam Group. Research on uranium enrichment and other neutron-related testing happens by this group. The Group consists of several subunits, offices and test labs.

[11] The Mojdeh Site (Lavizan 2): After the Shian Lavizan site, which was the previous location for the regime’s nuclear activities, was exposed by the Iranian Resistance in May 2003, the regime was forced to completely raze the site and transfer some of the equipment and activities to the Mojdeh site (Mojdeh Avenue located in northeastern Tehran). The Mojdeh site was previously a part of the regime’s ammunition industries and was acquired by the Defense Ministry and assigned to the regime’s military-nuclear activities.

[12] Malek Ashtar University is affiliated with the regime’s Defense Ministry. The regime’s military personnel and experts study various courses and programs at this university. The university has close contacts with SPND.

TO VIEW THE PRESENTATION USED AT THE CONFERENCE, VIEW HERE. VIEW THE INFOGRAPHIC HERE.

New and Old Locations of SPND

 

New location revealed by NCRI in 2013

 

 

 

 

Sanjarian Village East of Tehran 

 

Location of METFA near Sanjarian Village

 

 

 

 

METFAZ Center Near Sanjarian Village in Khojir Area, Tehran 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Parchin Military Complex in South East Tehran 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Plan 6 in Parchin Area

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

METFAZ’s Research Academy at the Plan 6 of Parchin 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Imagery of Plan 6 in Parchin, where Research Academy (Pazhouheshkadeh) is at the Heart of it

 

 

 

 

 

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