IRGC & Nuclear Program
Two years after the implementation of JCPOA and IAEA report on Possible Military Dimensions of Iranian nuclear program
The ISJ provided a through expert review on questions regarding the Iranian nuclear program and especially its possible military dimensions (PMD) on November 20, 2014. The review, “Examining 10 warning signs of Iran nuclear weapons development” focused on several issues regarding PMD based on a review of all information in the public domain. These were the most significant issues of years-long dispute between the international community, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and the Iranian regime on the nature of the Iranian nuclear program.
The unique review led to a conclusion that despite years of inquiry and repeated questioning by the IAEA, none of the topics of dispute with Iran had been completely resolved. The research also clearly showed that Tehran had worked systematically on all the necessary aspects of obtaining nuclear weapons, while no serious signs that Tehran had stopped or abandoned its nuclear weapons project were detected. The review manifested that in several areas this program has had systematic relations with the regime’s military organs, in particular the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC).
The five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany signed the nuclear agreement with the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on July 15, 2015. Then, on July 20, 2015 the UN Security Council ratified resolution 2231 that endorsed the nuclear agreement. This resolution annulled the Security Council’s previous resolutions regarding the Iranian nuclear program.
In resolution 2231, Security Council affirmed that full implementation of the JCPOA would contribute to building confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear program.
In order to resolve the outstanding issues on PMD, it was agreed that the IAEA would prepare a report to its Board of Governors on this matter.
In its December 2, 2015 report (Final Assessment on Past and Present Outstanding Issues regarding Iran’s Nuclear Program), the IAEA concluded “that a range of activities relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device were conducted in Iran prior to the end of 2003 as a coordinated effort, and some activities took place after 2003.” It pointed out that some of the activities continued until 2009. The IAEA stated that it saw no credible indications of activities in Iran relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device after 2009. Yet it did not state that the IAEA had seen credible evidence that the program had stopped.
Subsequently on December 15, 2015 the IAEA Board of Governors passed a resolution (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action implementation and verification and monitoring in the Islamic Republic of Iran in light of United Nations Security Council Resolution 2231 (2015)), annulling its previous resolutions regarding the Iranian nuclear program.
Eventually the JCPOA started to be implemented on January 16, 2016.
Need for assessment on the status of the Possible Military Dimensions of Iranian nuclear program
Almost three years after our original report and more than two years after the JCPOA, it is imperative to re-examine the status of PMD of Iranian nuclear program. The following report, based on information available in the public domain reviews the developments to this effect in the period following the JCPOA.
A Brief Look at the Results of the July 2015 JCPOA
The JCPOA agreement was finalized and signed on July 15, 2015. In accordance with the agreement, Iran was obliged to complete the following actions between July 2015 and December 2016:
• Take out the core of Arak 40-megawatt heavy water reactor and fill all its holes with concrete in order to render it inoperable.
• Reduce the number of centrifuges at the Natanz uranium enrichment site from about 19 thousand to 5,060, and reduce the number of centrifuges at the Fordow enrichment site from about 3,000 to 1,044.
• Completely halt uranium enrichment at levels higher than 3.67 percent.
• Cut the injection of uranium hexafluoride gas into the remaining 1,044 centrifuges and continue to operate them without injecting gas.
• Modify the use of the Fordow enrichment site by turning it into a center for nuclear research in order to generate stable isotopes in cooperation with Russia.
• Exchange the yellow cake used to produce enriched uranium with a comparable amount of uranium ore
• Voluntarily implement the Additional Protocol of the IAEA.
Assuming the implementation of these commitments by Iran, the P5+1 countries are required to perform the following actions:
• Revoke the provisions of Chapter 7 binding resolutions of the United Nations Security Council.
• Annul the resolutions of the International Atomic Energy Agency.
• End additional US sanctions.
• Create exceptions for the US sanctions.
• End the European Union sanctions and sanctions against individuals and institutions.
Section T of the JCPOA
Strict and thorough verification is at the core of the JCPOA and any international agreement regarding the Iranian nuclear program. This is of paramount importance since as Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the United Nations stressed in her remarks at the American Enterprise Institute on September 5, 2017, “For decades, the Iranian military conducted a covert nuclear weapons program, undeclared and hidden from international inspectors. In 2002, Iranian dissidents revealed the existence of a uranium enrichment plant and heavy water reactor – both violations of Iran’s safeguards agreement with the IAEA.”
Section T of Annex 1 (page 27 of Annex1) has particular significance because it scrutinizes activities that pertain to design and development of a nuclear explosive device, i.e. what has been at the core of the international community’s dispute with Iran regarding its nuclear program.
Section T, tilted “Activities which could contribute to the design and development of a nuclear explosive device,” states:
82 Iran will not engage in the following activities which could contribute to the development of a nuclear explosive device:
82.1 Designing, developing, acquiring, or using computer models to simulate nuclear explosive devices.
82.2 Designing, developing, fabricating, acquiring, or using multi-point explosive detonation systems suitable for a nuclear explosive device, unless approved by the Joint Commission for non-nuclear purposes and subject to monitoring.
82.3 Designing, developing, fabricating, acquiring, or using explosive diagnostic systems (streak cameras, framing cameras and flash x-ray cameras) suitable for the development of a nuclear explosive device, unless approved by the Joint Commission for non-nuclear purposes and subject to monitoring.
82.4 Designing, developing, fabricating, acquiring, or using explosively driven neutron sources or specialized materials for explosively driven neutron sources.
As Olli Heinonen (Former Deputy Director General of the IAEA and head of its Department of Safeguards) and David Albright, President of the Institute for Science and International Security, a Washington based think-tank pointed out on August 31, 2017, “The nature of the Section T conditions is analogous to verifying that allowed activities and equipment are not misused in a manner similar to verifying declared nuclear activities.”
In other words, implementation of Section T and its verification is not analogous to finding violations and reporting it to the IAEA for checking possible violation. Rather making sure Tehran abides by the spirit and word of the Section T is part and parcel of any serious and comprehensive verification process.
According to Mark Fitzpatrick, Executive Director of International Institute for Strategic Studies “military site visits will be required for the IAEA to be able to reach the ‘broader conclusion’ under the Additional Protocol that all nuclear activities in Iran are for peaceful purposes.”
One of the most important issues during the nuclear negotiations was Tehran’s responses to scores of outstanding questions from the IAEA regarding PMD.
Review of Final Assessment of IAEA on Past and Present Outstanding Issues regarding Iran’s Nuclear Program on December 2015
The topic that created the most tension between the regime in Tehran and the IAEA from 2003 until 2016 was the nuclear program’s possible military dimensions, something that speaks to the very nature of the program that the regime had pursued for three decades. The final determination about this most important challenge of the JCPOA agreement was entrusted to the IAEA. According to the JCPOA, the IAEA was tasked with addressing this issue in a final report and agreed with the most senior officials in Tehran on the roadmap to answer scores of previously unaddressed questions.
On December 2, 2015, the IAEA released its final report on the possible military dimensions of the regime’s nuclear program.
Article 2 of the Agency’s 16-page report states, "From 2002 onwards, the Agency became increasingly concerned about the possible existence in Iran of undisclosed nuclear related activities involving military related organizations, including activities related to the development of a nuclear payload for a missile.
Reports by the Director General identified outstanding issues related to possible military dimensions to Iran’s nuclear programme and the actions required of Iran to resolve these. The 2011 Annex provided a detailed analysis of the information then available to the Agency. The information indicated that Iran had carried out activities relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device. The information also indicated that prior to the end of 2003, these activities took place under a structured programme, and that some activities may still have been ongoing.”
The report has on several occasions refuted the regime’s deceptions on matters including exploding-bridgewire (EBW) detonators and neutron initiators. According to the IAEA’s report, the regime’s explanations in this regard were contradictory or inconsistent. The report states, “The Agency assesses that EBW detonators developed by Iran have characteristics relevant to a nuclear explosive device” and in regard to multipoint initiation (MPI) the report concluded: “the MPI technology developed by Iran has characteristics relevant to a nuclear explosive device.”
The report rejected the regime’s explanation regarding the use of Parchin "for the storage of chemical material for the production of explosives" and declared, “Information available to the Agency in relation to hydrodynamic testing indicated that Iran made and installed a large cylinder at the Parchin military complex in 2000. Other information indicated that this cylinder matched the parameters of an explosives firing chamber featured in publications of the foreign expert. The information available to the Agency, including the results of the analysis of the samples and the satellite images, does not support Iran’s statements on the purpose of the building.”
In its conclusion, Article 85 of the report states: “The Agency’s overall assessment is that a range of activities relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device were conducted in Iran prior to the end of 2003 as a coordinated effort, and some activities took place after 2003. The Agency also assesses that these activities did not advance beyond feasibility and scientific studies, and the acquisition of certain relevant technical competences and capabilities. The Agency has no credible indications of activities in Iran relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device after 2009.”
The IAEA makes references to systematic efforts of the mullahs to obtain a nuclear bomb while the regime, over the years, continuously tried to destroy documents regarding its clandestine activities. Although the Agency has confirmed the regime's past military activities, it leaves post-2009 activities in doubt.
Tehran’s deception in response to the Agency's questions about the explosive-bridgewire detonators (EBW)
One of the main PMD issues regarding which the regime did not respond to the Agency over the years was explosive-bridgewire detonators, or EBW. Article 40 of the IAEA’s December 2, 2015 report states, “The Agency assesses that EBW detonators developed by Iran have characteristics relevant to a nuclear explosive device. The Agency acknowledges that there is a growing use of EBW detonators for civilian and conventional military purposes.”
Abbas Araqchi, deputy foreign minister and a key individual in the regime’s nuclear negotiating team, said in a private meeting on August 1 with the regime’s state radio and TV managers, "(Western countries) turned Iran's purely technical case to a political issue of PMD and therefore collaborated with the Agency and gave more information and the issue took a turn for the worse. EBW was leaked as such. You ask our friends at the Ministry of Defense, their hearts are bleeding as a result of this leaked information that has made things worse.”
The contents of the meeting were supposed to be confidential. However, they were mistakenly published on the official website of state TV and radio. Tehran immediately removed the article from the site. The question that remains to be asked is: what specifically was the information that should not have been made public and that caused the “hearts of [officials] of the Ministry of Defense to bleed”?
Based on information obtained from inside the regime’s organs, the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) announced that the answers to these questions were entirely orchestrated by a team introduced by the Ministry of Defense.
The objective of these answers was to suggest that the request had been made by the Oil Ministry. This scenario was provided to the Agency in April and May 2014. The core aspects of the fabricated scenario and the so-called evidence provided by the regime are as follows:
a.Since early 2000, oil well explosions and losses were communicated to the Ministry of Defense by the Oil Ministry. For this reason, the Defense Ministry decided to develop safe detonators.
B. A chain of correspondence in Farsi between the Oil Ministry and the Defense Ministry was provided to prove that the request came from the former.
C.A number of videos regarding measures that the regime had taken to test the detonators were provided to investigators.
D.A series of documents on the use of this type of detonator in other industries were provided to prove that the detonator has a dual use.
E.In a series of reports it was claimed that since 2007 this type of detonator had been used in the oil industry.
G.Attempts were made to deny documents in the possession of the IAEA that specifically showed that research on this type of detonator was tied to the Physics Research Center (the previous name of the organ responsible for manufacturing nuclear weapons for the regime).
Deception about high explosives and related experiments
Another issue related to the possible military dimensions of the regime’s nuclear program that had long been the subject of IAEA investigations, and one to which Tehran had not provided any answers, was high explosives in hemispherical geometry. This test is one of the steps for nuclear implosion. In the attached 2011 report of the Agency, reference was made to this test in the region of Marivan.
Tehran had widely spread propaganda that there were no nuclear activities in the region of Marivan. However, the Agency report makes it clear that the code used by Tehran for these activities was “Marivan,” which had nothing to do with the geographical region. (Marivan is a city in the West of Iran in Kurdistan Province). The regime had conducted "a large-scale high explosive experiment" in 2003.
According to Article 41 of the December 2, 2015 report by the IAEA: "Prior to November 2011, Member States provided the Agency with information that Iran had available to it design information on the explosives technology known as multipoint initiation (MPI) and that it had used this for the initiation of high explosives in hemispherical geometry. The information indicated that Iran had developed of a hemispherical MPI system and conducted at least one large scale experiment in 2003, details of which were technically consistent, both internally and with publications authored by a certain ‘foreign expert’. The Agency has reassessed that this experiment was conducted at a location called “Marivan”, and not conducted in “the region of” Marivan."
Article 46 of the report on the possibility of this experiment concludes: "The Agency assesses that the MPI technology developed by Iran has characteristics relevant to a nuclear explosive device, as well as to a small number of alternative applications."
Experiments at Parchin and the September 2015 inspections
A very serious dispute over the regime's nuclear activities was the Parchin explosive chamber. The IAEA raised questions about this between February 2012 and September 2015.
It took three and a half years for the regime to allow limited visits to this site. The IAEA’s December 2015 report stated that "the Director General and Deputy Director General for Safeguards visited the main building of interest to the Agency at the Parchin site on 20 September 2015."
Article 48 of the same report stated, "As previously reported, in relation to hydrodynamic testing, the Agency received from Member States information, including satellite imagery, which indicated that Iran made and installed a large cylinder at the Parchin military complex in 2000. Other information indicated that this cylinder matched the parameters of an explosives firing chamber (chamber) featured in publications of the foreign expert and was designed to contain the effects of detonating up to 70 kg of high explosives (a quantity suitable for conducting hydrodynamic experiments with high explosives).
The information indicated that Iran had first installed the chamber and then constructed a building around it, and that this building (the main building of interest to the Agency) was in use until late 2003."
Article 51 of the report regarding the actions of the regime to raze the site reads: "Since the Agency’s first request to Iran for access to the particular location of interest to it at the Parchin site in February 2012, extensive activities have taken place at this location. These activities, observed through commercial satellite imagery, appeared to show, inter alia, shrouding of the main building, the removal/replacement or refurbishment of its external wall structures, removal and replacement of part of the roof, and large amounts of liquid run-off emanating from the building. Commercial satellite imagery also showed that five other buildings or structures at the location were demolished in this period and that significant ground scraping and landscaping were undertaken over an extensive area at and around the location.”
Article 57 of the IAEA report said, "The information available to the Agency, including the results of the sampling analysis and the satellite imagery, does not support Iran’s statements on the purpose of the building. As a result of activities implemented under the Road-map, the Agency has established that, as of 20 September 2015, the cylinder was not in the main building of interest. The Agency assesses that the extensive activities undertaken by Iran since February 2012 at the particular location of interest to the Agency seriously undermined the Agency’s ability to conduct effective verification.”
The footnote of Article 55 of the IAEA report (P.11, footnote 40) about the finding on the enriched uranium reads: “The results identified two particles that appear to be chemically man-modified particles of natural uranium. This small number of particles with such elemental composition and morphology is not sufficient to indicate a connection with the use of nuclear material.”
The timing of the provision of access to the site, limitations imposed by Tehran, and the process and agreements which led to the permission of access have raised many questions about the results of this visit and investigations regarding one of the main points of dispute about the nature of the mullahs’ nuclear program.
Between February 2012 and September 2015, despite repeated requests by the IAEA, Tehran has refused to allow inspections at Parchin, while all evidence pointed to attempts to raze the area and to carry out a cleanup.
In the end, the IAEA in its December 2, 2015 report concluded from its inspections of the site, “The Agency assesses that the extensive activities undertaken by Iran since February 2012 at the particular location of interest to the Agency seriously undermined the Agency’s ability to conduct effective verification.”
In addition to the delay in access and repeated modifications and tampering by Tehran, there are serious signs that this visit and sampling happened under limitations and a sort of regime oversight. For instance, Major General Hassan Firouzabadi (former Chief of Staff of the regime’s Armed Forces and a top military adviser to Ali Khamenei) conducted an interview with the state-run Tasnim News Agency on November 12, 2016, regarding the inspection of the Parchin site. He said that this inspection was essentially a political act rather than an actual test to determine what really happened there.
He added: “A political act was done and they brought the IAEA chief to Tehran and took him to a specific building where it was alleged that nuclear activity had taken place. They showed that building, but the building was a sanitary services building. They took samples and took their special tissues from special nylons and rubbed it against walls and doors and carried the samples. We said ‘go test it’ and no one talked about it anymore. In fact, Mr. Amano, the head of the Agency, was relieved through this political tactic from the pressure he was under. We have not and will not give permission to visit any military site.”
Although the official IAEA report on December 2, 2015 stated that “the extensive activities undertaken by Iran since February 2012 at the particular location of interest to the Agency seriously undermined the Agency’s ability to conduct effective verification," and although findings on uranium particles were mentioned, the final result of the inspections of the Parchin was shrouded in mystery.
In a press conference in Washington on November 7, 2014, the National Council of Resistance of Iran provided details regarding the manufacturing of an explosive chamber by the Azarab Company in Isfahan and the people who ordered and manufactured the chamber revealed that the explosive chambers were manufactured under the supervision of the organization in charge of weaponization of the nuclear project, called Organization of Defensive Innovation and Research, known by its Persian acronym SPND.
This project was specifically pursued by the Center of Research and Expansion of Technologies on Explosions and Impact (METFAZ) - a subdivision of SPND that works on explosion and impact. This information indicates that Vyacheslav Danilenko, the Ukrainian scientist who was involved in the project, directly worked with Saeed Borji, the head of this section in SPND.
New information on continuation of work by SPND and identifying a new location involved in the nuclear project at Parchin
On Friday, April 21, 2017, at a press conference in Washington, the Iranian opposition revealed new information and intelligence that showed that the structure of the nerve center of the organization responsible for the regime’s designing of a nuclear bomb has remained fully intact even after the July 2015 signing of the nuclear deal.
Not only has the scale of its activities not been reduced, in certain areas they have in fact been expanded. The NCRI made this determination based on information gathered by the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK).
The PMOI has an extensive network of activists inside Iran and over the years it has made some of the most significant revelations with respect to the Iranian regime’s clandestine nuclear weapons program. The contents of these revelations have subsequently been confirmed and verified by other parties.
According to this information, the Organization of Defensive Innovation and Research (SPND) has 7 subdivisions, each of which conduct research on a distinct field related to nuclear weapons. SPND’s existence was revealed in Washington by the Iranian opposition in July 2011 and its existence was confirmed by the IAEA in November 2011. Three years later, on August 29, 2014, the U.S. State Department placed SPND on its sanctions list in accordance with Executive Order 13382.
The information compiled by the PMOI was the result of several months of investigations inside the regime, including within the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), the Defense Ministry, and SPND, compounded by reports obtained from all seven subdivisions.
It indicated that all seven subdivisions of SPND are continuing their research in various fields related to manufacturing of nuclear weapons, with little or no changes since the nuclear deal. In some aspects, they have implemented new initiatives in order to hide the real goals and objectives of their research and to cover their tracks.
Lending further credence to the findings of the Iranian opposition was the existence of a new location related to the nuclear program, which had remained a secret up to that point and hidden from the eyes of IAEA inspectors.
According to information obtained by the opposition, METFAZ was conducting research into the production of triggers for nuclear explosions. In September 2009, the Iranian opposition exposed METFAZ and unveiled the location of its tests in the military district of Khojir (eastern Tehran) in the vicinity of Sanjarian village.
The latest findings showed that METFAZ had conducted its tests in another area, which had until now remained a secret and hidden from the IAEA. The opposition revealed that the location is known by the codename “Pajooheshkadeh” (Research Academy) within SPND’s internal communications. This site has become the main location for METFAZ activities and tests.
According to information released by the opposition, Pajooheshkadeh is situated in a large military district called Parchin, some 50km southeast of Tehran. The area is entirely devoted to military activities and is controlled by the Defense Ministry. There are 12 military and missiles factories in Parchin, each of which is referred to by the Defense Ministry as a “Plan” (i.e. Plan 1 to Plan 12). The METFAZ center is located at Plan 6 of the Parchin military industrial complex and is known as the chemical plan of Zeyn oddin. The geographical area of the Plan is more than 500 acres and is completely fenced off and protected.
After the signing of the nuclear deal in 2015, in order to prevent the leak of relevant information, the bulk of METFAZ activities and personnel working at the Sanjarian location were relocated to Pajooheshkadeh inside Parchin. The rationale for the relocation came from Tehran’s assessment that the probability of the IAEA accessing Parchin is very low and therefore the site is optimal for the regime’s activities in this area.
In order to hide the real objectives of Pajooheshkadeh, the regime conducts conventional explosive tests as well.
These explosions provide a cover for the secret tests conducted by METFAZ and SPND. Plan 6, Zeyn oddin, is a part of the chemical industries of the Parchin military complex.
New information revealed by the Iranian Resistance in April 2017 shows that Pajooheshkadeh is at Plan 6 of Parchin. The location is 700 meters north of the cleared site of the explosive chambers and strongly raises suspicions on the relationship between these two areas.
Asked about NCRI’s claims and supporting evidence, Michael Anton, a spokesman for the White House National Security Council, said that Washington is “carefully evaluating” the NCRI package against “the best intelligence reporting and analysis available to the United States.”
Experts closely monitoring the Iranian regime’s nuclear program over the years called on the IAEA to immediately verify the revelations and specifically inspect the newly exposed locations.
Olli Heinonen, former deputy director-general of the IAEA, who has for years closely followed the regime’s nuclear program, said in this regard: “We see that the buildings are surrounded by berms; they are a distance from each other. This is a typical design for a site that works with high explosives. … I think there are serious questions to be asked [of] the Iranian government. Most likely IAEA should have access to this site.”
David Albright, a former UN weapons inspector and head of the Washington-based Institute for Science and International Security, said, “The international inspectors should use authorities under the nuclear deal to go and look at this site, and see what's going on and start to verify a critical part of the nuclear deal, namely, those activities involved in the development of nuclear weapons.”
In an interview with Fox News, Former U.S. envoy to the United Nations, Ambassador John Bolton said he had first heard about the MEK about 15-16 years earlier when they were making revelations on Iran’s nuclear weapons program. Since then, he added, he has never known their information to be mistaken.
The extensive and immediate reaction from Tehran at the highest levels only added to the gravity of the revelations. Tehran’s defense minister at the time, IRGC Brig. Gen. Hossein Dehqan said on April 23, “Undoubtedly, the sinister plots of the [PMOI] will be defeated and the vigilant and revolutionary people of Iran have never and will never give in to humiliation and threats. The nation will not spare any efforts to play its role in the region and the world and to strengthen its defense and deterrent capabilities.”
Abbas Araqchi, former lead nuclear negotiator of the Iranian regime, said on April 22 in reaction to the opposition’s revelations: “The inspections of the IAEA secretary general from Parchin and his reports about the absence of possible military dimensions of Iran’s nuclear program closed the fabricated case known as PMD and brought disgrace to those who made such claims.”
The deputy chairman of the Majlis (parliament) National Security and Foreign Policy Committee, Abolfazl Hassan Beyki, said on April 24, “It would be in the interest of the Americans to avoid falling into the well using the rotten rope of the [PMOI]. … There have been no new initiatives at Parchin and the only ongoing activities are in line with [conventional] weapons manufacturing and strengthening of our defensive backbone.”
It was interesting that despite various denials from Tehran on the new revelation, there were absolutely no references made to SPND, Metfaz or SPND’s head IRGC Brigadier Mohsen Fakhrizadeh Mahabadi in concern for creating many questions their purpose and history. Similar questions can be asked about the role and status of Fakhrizadeh.
As the regime officials, including Major General Firouzabadi, have said, the regime will not allow IAEA inspectors to visit military sites. This further explains why SPND has moved the bulk of its activities from the Sanjarian site to the Academy at Plan 6 of Parchin.
Reports on Iran’s illegal procurements for its nuclear weapon and missiles program– June 2016
The IAEA’s December 2, 2015 report stated “The Agency also had indications of instances of procurements and attempted procurements of items with relevance, inter alia, to the development of a nuclear explosive device. The Agency does not have information regarding any such procurement attempts after 2007“.
A report by Germany’s Federal Internal Security, presented by Thomas Dmzyr, Germany’s Minister of Interior, and released on June 28, 2016, says, “Although because of the nuclear agreement, Iran has limited the scope of its nuclear program, Iran has been engaged in illegal activities for ‘proliferation’ (finding access to the technology which can serve the pursuit of weapons of mass destruction).” Iran is still engaged in such activities at a large scale.
A separate report released in Düsseldorf, the state capital of North Rhine Westphalia in Germany, also has similar findings. This annual report was released by Ralf Jager, the State Minister for Interior and Local Government of North Rhine-Westphalia on July 4, 2016.
The report indicates that nearly two-thirds of the "purchasing efforts in North Rhine-Westphalia identified by internal security" have been purchases in connection with Iran. According to the internal security of the state, such purchasing efforts included 90 cases of illegal activities, including attempts to gain access to the technology for the manufacturing of nuclear weapons and missiles.
The state security of North Rhine-Westphalia registered a total of 141 "purchasing attempts" in 2015, an increase of 83 attempts compared to 2014.
The state security of Rhine Westphalia also cites a few countries that are used by Iran to transport the purchased items to Iran. These purchases, materials and equipment involved in the production of nuclear weapons, especially measurement technology and technology of vacuum, involve fake companies based in China, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates.
But nearly 90 percent of these attempted purchases in Germany have been unsuccessful because the companies selling such technologies and equipment cooperate with Germany’s Internal Security Agency.
Execution of Shahram Amiri, a SPND expert, in August 2016
After his return to Iran, Iranian nuclear scientists Shahram Amiri was arrested, imprisoned and executed. A nuclear weapons expert at SPND, Amiri suddenly disappeared in June 2009 in Saudi Arabia and later travelled to the United States.
The regime’s foreign minister, the head of the Atomic Energy Organization, and the spokesman of the foreign ministry initially denied that Amiri had any ties to the regime’s nuclear activities. On July 14, 2010, Amiri returned to Iran after 13 months.
Amiri’s family said after his departure from Iran, they were taken hostage by the Ministry of Intelligence and this is how they exerted pressure on Amiri which caused his return.
He was officially greeted at the airport by the deputy foreign minister and the regime organized a TV interview for him.
Shahram Amiri greeted by Deputy Foreign Minister at Tehran Airport - 14 July 2010
Shahram Amiri, giving interview to Iranian media upon his arrival to Tehran – July 2010
He was immediately taken into custody. According to his family, after 20 months in detention, he was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment and 5 years in exile from his city. Despite this, the regime hanged him on August 3, 2016. The spokesman of the judiciary said the following about his execution: “This individual had access to secret and top secret information of the system [regime], had established contacts with our aggressive and number one enemy, America, and handed over critical intelligence of the country to the enemy.”
In light of Amiri’s execution and the confession of the judiciary spokesman regarding his access to top secret and vital intelligence of the regime, the question is, to what kind if top secret intelligence did Amiri have access, which led the regime to execute him after a long propaganda campaign and lies spread by some of the most senior officials?
A review of Amiri’s professional and academic career sheds some light on the facts.
The public information available about him shows that he worked at SPND, and Parviz Katani, one of the main managers of the organization, was his mentor at the University of Science and Technology.
Katani also teaches at Science and Technology University and was working with the entity that pursued nuclear weapons on “ionizing radiation”. Shahram Amiri and another individual by the name of Hossein Ziloui were conducting research on thin layers under the supervision of Katani.
According to some reports, Amiri handed over information regarding the activities of SPND, including intelligence on the Fordow site to U.S. officials.
The execution of Amiri strongly suggests that secret activities were ongoing in Fordow that Tehran wanted to cover up. Further complicating the issue is the fact that following revelations about the existence of Fordow, international nuclear experts assessed the extent and number of installed centrifuges and raised serious questions about the site’s function in the regime’s nuclear enterprise. The site had 3,000 installed centrifuges, a number too low for the production of nuclear fuel but just enough to produce highly enriched uranium for a nuclear weapon.
The execution of Amiri, which took place after the nuclear agreement, raises serious questions about the real function of Fordow and the true intentions of the nuclear program. It appears that the goal of executing Amiri was to spread fear and intimidate other individuals working in the context of the regime’s nuclear weaponization program.
Continued ballistic missile tests capable of carrying nuclear warheads and violating UNSC resolution 2231
In paragraph 3 of Annex B of resolution 2231 of the UN Security Council, Iran is called upon to refrain from engaging in any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including the firing of rockets using ballistic missile technology.
But subsequent to the agreement, the mullahs' regime has conducted multiple tests of ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads. On February 14, 2017, a senior Iranian affairs expert at the Washington-based Foundation for Defense of Democracies said that since the announcement of the nuclear accord, Iran has made 14 attempts to test ballistic missiles.
This concern is reflected in many reports issued by the International Atomic Energy Agency, in particular in its November 2011 report. According to the report, Iran’s plan was to mount a nuclear warhead on a Shahab-3 missile. Shahab-3 missile is a replica of the Nodong 1 missile made by North Korea. All of the regime’s long-range ballistic missiles, including Qadr, Sejjil, and Omid are similar to Shahab-3 and have a range of nearly 2,000 km. They are all capable of carrying a nuclear warhead.
Major General Hassan Firouzabadi, former chief of staff of the Iranian Armed Forces, said on November 12, 2016, "If the Supreme Leader permits, the missiles will be launched. If he doesn’t allow it, they won’t be launched. Even the time and date of the launch are determined by the Supreme Leader.”
In his speech on the occasion of the 2017 Persian New Year, Supreme Leader Khamenei said the following with respect to the significance of the missile tests: “It is no small feat that they have created missiles with a range of 2,000km to hit targets with a deviation of only 2 to 5 meters.”
Iran’s responses to IAEA questions regarding the military dimensions of its nuclear program
The manner in which the regime responds to questions raised by the International Atomic Energy Agency is also a matter of concern.
The Washington Times reported on December 2, 2015 that “Iran is trying to deceive U.N. inspectors in charge of implementing last summer’s nuclear deal” , and Tehran has created a “top-secret committee” to provide false information to the watchdog International Atomic Energy Agency.
According to this report the secret committee consists of top officials from Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and Ministry of Defense.
Based on the information obtained by its activist network from inside Iran, the PMOI revealed on December 1, 2015 in Washington that the key individuals in the committee have all been intimately involved in the regime’s nuclear projects over the years.
In view of its knowledge of various aspects of the military dimensions of the regime’s nuclear program, the mandate of this committee was to formulate managed responses to the IAEA through the fabrication of required scenarios suggesting that the regime’s nuclear program has no military components thereby masking Tehran’s real ambitions in pursuit of a nuclear weapon.
Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, the key individual for the regime’s nuclear weapons program – whom the regime has repeatedly refused to allow the IAEA to interview – is a member of the secret committee. He finalized the responses and submitted them to the regime’s Atomic Energy Agency, which was responsible for official delivery of the regime’s responses to IAEA inspectors in Iran.
The members of this committee were Nasrollah Kalantary, deputy defense minister in international affairs, Seyed Ahmad Mirzaei, former head of the defense ministry bureau of disarmament, and Mohsen Fakhrizadeh Fakhrizadeh, the committee’s main figure on technical matters.
The imperative of a firm policy to prevent the continuation of the mullahs’ nuclear weaponization program
Nearly 21 months after the last IAEA report was issued on the nature of the Iranian regime’s nuclear program, a plethora of questions remain unanswered. As more time passes, and with new facts and evidence coming to the fore, additional signs about the military nature of the program and the fact that Tehran has not abandoned the path are increasing.
The issue of inspecting Iran’s nuclear sites remains unresolved. But there should be no obstruction and hindrance for such a visit, though Tehran virulently opposes such access.
The ongoing procurement of illegal material by the regime and the lack of IAEA access to key experts of the regime’s nuclear program are among other issues that need to be addressed. All of these make it imperative to revisit the military aspects of the regime’s nuclear program as well as the circumstances for implementing the nuclear agreement in order to guarantee prevention of Tehran from obtaining a nuclear bomb.
For a credible and reliable verification and in order to prevent Tehran from acquiring a nuclear weapon and to ensure that the weaponization program has been abandoned, it is necessary to adopt the following measures:
1.All organizations affiliated with SPND, the organ responsible for the manufacturing of a nuclear weapon, must be completely inspected by the IAEA and the results of these inspections must be included in the IAEA’s report.
2.In accordance with the spirit of the nuclear agreement and to ensure transparency on the part of Iran, immediate and unhindered access to military sites must be guaranteed.
3.Experts involved in the regime’s nuclear weaponization program, such as Mohsen Fakhrizadeh Mahabadi, Saeed Borji and other main officials of SPND must be made available to be interviewed by the IAEA immediately, without restrictions, and as many times as is deemed necessary.
4. On the international stage, the regime must be prevented from procuring equipment related to building a nuclear weapon. Companies involved in such transactions must be penalized.
5.The Iranian regime must be prevented from continuing activities related to missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads in violation of UNSC 2231.
6.In the event that the regime prevents full and unannounced inspections from military nuclear sites, on the basis of the nuclear agreement, all previous sanctions and UNSC resolutions must be reinstituted and the mullahs’ nuclear dossier must be referred to the Security Council.
International Committee In Search of Justice (ISJ)
ISJ was initially formed in 2008 as an informal group of EU parliamentarians to seek justice for the Iranian democratic opposition. In 2014 it was registered as a non-profit NGO in Brussels expanding its membership beyond elected parliamentarians to former officials and other dignitaries with an interest to promote human rights, freedom, democracy, peace and stability. ISJ's campaigns have enjoyed the support of over 4000 parliamentarians on both sides of the Atlantic.
President: Alejo Vidal-Quadras, a Spanish professor of atomic and nuclear physics, was vice president of the European Parliament from 1999 to 2014
Board of Advisors: Patrick Kennedy, Congressman (1995-2011); Günter Verheugen, Vice President of EU Commission (2004-2010); Nicole Fontaine, President of European Parliament (1999-2002); General Hugh Shelton, Chairman of US Joint Chiefs of Staff (1997-2001); David Kilgour, Canadian Secretary of State (1997-2003); Ingrid Betancourt ; Prof.
Raymond Tanter, President of Iran Policy Committee, Washington D.C.; Prof. Horst Teltschik, Chairman of the Munich Security Conference (1999-2008); Colonel Wesley Martin, Antiterrorism/Force Protection Officer of all Coalition forces in Iraq (2005-2007); Senator Lucio Malan, Quaestor of Italian Senate; Alessandro Pagano MP, President of Committee of Italian Parliamentarians for a Free Iran; Antonio Razzi Secretary of Italian Senate Foreign Affairs Committee; Gérard Deprez MEP, Chair Friends of a Free Iran intergroup European Parliament; Ryszard Czarnecki, Vice President of European Parliament; Tunne Kelam, Member of European Parliament; Lord Carlile of Berriew QC, Co-Chair of British Parliamentary Committee for Iran Freedom, former independent reviewer of UK terrorism legislations; Lord Clarke of Hampstead CBE, Former Chairman of UK Labour Party; Lord Maginnis of Drumglass; Lord Dholakia OBE, Deputy Leader of Liberal Democrats in House of Lords