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February 22nd, 2008

Iran nearing nuclear weapons capability

New revelations on Iran's nuclear ambitions smuggled out of the Islamic republic by a network of the opposition group, the Mujahedin-e Khalq, (MeK), and made available to the Middle East Times, indicates that Iran is very much on the path of becoming a nuclear power.

The MeK report mentions 12 interrelated tasks for building an atomic bomb are being developed at this site; they include:

1. Scientists here are producing Polunium-210 and Beryllium for a trigger for the atomic bomb. To this end, Imam Hossein University is closely cooperating with the center. One of the scientists who has worked in this field extensively is Fereydoun Abbassi.

2. According to the information obtained by the MeK, this section has the ability of casting and machining enriched uranium hemispheres. This technology has strict military use.

3. Research on the fissile material needed for the production of a nuclear bomb, including highly enriched uranium and plutonium, is carried out under the supervision of nuclear physicists such as Fereydoon Abbassi and Mansour Asgari, among others.

4. Laser enrichment of uranium is under the direction of scientists such as Mohammad Bassam, who has worked on similar projects in the Parchin site.

5. Nanotechnology, widely used in the production of nuclear weapons, comes under the guidance of Saiid Borji, a scientist with a doctorate in material engineering and an expert on implosions. He is a member of the IRGC who is active in development of nanodiamond technology at Mojdeh. An application of nanodiamond is to enhance the quality of lubricants used in the machines. Borji is a specialist on lubricants for the advanced P-2 centrifuges. He is the top scientist in nanotechnology in Iran.

6. Research on high explosive work is the domain of scientist Ali Mehdipour Omrani. He is specifically engaged in high energy material and works closely with Borji. Explosion testing is done in the Parchin military site.

7. The Mojdeh site has been equipped with robots to facilitate experiments related to the production of highly poisonous nuclear material such as polonium, plutonium and beryllium. Two scientists, Katanbaf and Vahedi, oversee this project.

8. Developing radiation detection systems, used to measure the amount of radioactive contamination and its effects on the environment.

9. Computers and electronic engineering are highly instrumental in developing a nuclear warhead and the missile control system. Mehdi Naghian Fesharaki, former head of research and development of Air and Space Industries Organization of Iran, and Mohammad Hossein Ghezelayaq, head of auxiliary research department at Malek Ashtar University are the two top experts at Mojdeh.

10. Regular checkups of armed forces personnel exposed to radioactive material was previously controlled by Atomic Energy Organization of Iran. Since December 2007 that task has been transferred to Mojdeh. The Novin Medical Radiation Institute, which is part of Mojdeh conducts all the research for military personnel. Such activities are indicative of the regime's increased nuclear activities.

11. Reliable sources within the regime report that Tehran is actively pursuing the production of nuclear warheads in an area called Khojir. This is a vast area southeast of Tehran which entails an area of 120 square kilometers.

Khojir is a secured military area. It was secretly constructed in 1989 and is the primarily manufacturing site of missiles such as Shahab 3.

The project to manufacture nuclear warheads is called Nori Industry and is identified by the code "8500."

12. Alireza Nori Industry has its own security and its military police. Individuals who have clearance to other parts of the Khojir site are not allowed in section 8500. According to the reports, there are huge underground tunnels in this site, where warheads are being designed to be mounted on Shahab 3 missiles. The most advanced version of Shahab 3 has a range of 2,000 kilometers.


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