I first revealed Tehran’s nuclear activities in Lashkar Ab’ad in May 2003. In response to this revelation, the IAEA initiated inspections in Lashkar Ab’ad, and the regime moved its equipment to a different location. Following the interruption in the laser enrichment activities due to the IAEA inspections, this site has now restarted its work under the direction of Jamshid Sabaqzadeh. Under Sabaqzadeh, this site has been one of the most important centers for laser enrichment activities and the Iranian regime has allocated many resources to it over the years.
Reports received from my sources in Iran indicate that the resumption of the laser enrichment activities at Lashkar Ab’ad has reportedly produced favorable results.
The laser enrichment in Lashkar Ab’ad is conducted under the cover of a front company called Paya Partov with the following specifications:
Registration Number: 207096
Registration date: August 2003
Company’s new address: Tehran, end of North Karegar, end of Shahid Abtahi (previously known as 20th street) Azadegan intersection; Unit 16, (building 37)
Board of Directors:
Reza Aqazadeh, Chairman of the Board of Directors
â€¢ Head of Atomic Energy Organization of Iran
â€¢ Represents Novin Energy Company
Jamshid Sabaqzadeh, Executive Director and Deputy Chief
â€¢ Head of laser division of Atomic Energy Organization of Iran
Mohammad Sadeq Zabihi, Board Member
â€¢ Member of Atomic Energy Organization of Iran
â€¢ Deputy to Jamshid Sabaqzadeh at Lashkar Ab’ad
Sha’ban Hosseinzad, Alternate Board Member
Company’s Mission as stated in the records:
Acquisition and distribution of laboratory equipment from domestic and foreign sources.
Professional and consultation services in regards to laboratory equipment and apparatus and educational research
Acquisition and distribution of precision tools and equipment.
Import, export, and all related legal activities
Utilization and joint venture with domestic and foreign contractors
Paya Partov’s Front Operation
This Company is in appearance in the business of making medical laser equipment. For example, it does carry equipment such as PMC30, which has medical uses. It also carries industrial equipment for precision steel cuts such as the 400 watt IQL10, the 750 Watt IQL20 or the 1050 watt IQL30. It also has series of optical products.
The director of Paya Partov is Dr. Jamshid Sabaqzadeh. He is also the head of the Lashkar Ab’ad site. Sabaqzadeh has an office in the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran and stays in this office until 10 AM every day and then leaves for his office in Paya Partov Company.
Sabaqzadeh, as an expert in laser enrichment at the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, is considered the top expert for laser enrichment in Iran.
Mohammad Sadeq Zabihi was an associate of Sabaqzadeh at Lashkar Ab’ad and he now works at Paya Partov on the laser enrichment project.
In order to keep as much secrecy as possible, Tehran is using two separate teams of laser experts on the enrichment project. One group is dedicated to lab and research work, the other is in charge of logistics and planning. The latter group is not even aware of the laboratory location.
Dr. Atae’i and Dr. Gealvan are amongst the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran laser experts that belong to the logistics team.
In addition to a laboratory, Paya Partov also has a factory that is headed by Dr. Sadeq Zabihi, who is a laser enrichment expert and the deputy to Jamshid Sabaqzadeh.
The location of Paya Partov factory is: Karaj’s old road, past Sohayleh three way intersection, Hashtgerd road, toward Lashkar Ab’ad. There is a very large garden with an area of nearly 300 acres that was purchased by the AEOI from its owner, Jalal Amir Fazli in 2001. Fazli was told that the land is purchased to develop agricultural cultivation. He was told not to talk to anyone about selling this garden.
It is within this 300 acre area that new laser enrichment facilities are step up, next to the more overt activities of the factory. The place is run with great secrecy, to the point that there are only 4 local residents who are working in Lashkar Ab’ad, the rest are brought in from Tehran.
Initially, all communication regarding uranium enrichment within the regime was done under the cover of the Nour Afza Gostar Company.
However, following the revelation of this site by the NCRI-US in May 2003, the regime created the Paya Partov Company, through which all communications are channeled.
There are now new facilities built at this site; among them a large hall, 5000 square feet in size. The regime has set up an agricultural facility at the end of this garden as a cover.
Other Laser Enrichment Sites
According to the latest information, the laser enrichment section of Malek Ashtar University (Ministry of Defense) headed by Dr. Rezazadeh (who is an associate of prominent nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh) has been transferred to a location outside Isfahan to evade inspections by the IAEA.
Meanwhile, the regime is still carrying out laser enrichment at its military facilities in different locations, including Parchin, which was in 2005 exposed by the Iranian Resistance. This was the underground tunnel facility that was nick named Parchin-1 and was being used for laser enrichment.
Chronology of Laser Enrichment in Iran – Khomeini’s Era
During the 80’s, as the Iran and Iraq war was in progress, the Iranian regime started its plans for acquiring nuclear bomb. According to some nuclear experts who worked in the regime’s nuclear program, as early as 1987, Laser Enrichment was part of the ongoing research.
In 1992, the Mullahs’ regime handed over the Guards’ Research Center and all its facilities to the Ministry of Defense. Part of the Laser Enrichment activity was carried out at this center.
Between 1993 and 2000 Laser Isotope Separation was also conducted at Tehran’s Center for Nuclear Research.
During 2002 and 2003, the Mullahs attempt to enrich uranium using Laser Isotope Separation at the Lashkar Ab’ad near Karaj. I first revealed the site in Lashkar Ab’ad in May 2003 in a press conference organized by the National Council of Resistance of Iran-U.S. representative office. The mullahs’ regime at first denied this to misguide the IAEA inspectors. At the same time, the regime quickly moved the equipment and material from this site to another one near Karaj, and told the IAEA that it did not have a laser enrichment program at all. However, due to discrepancies between the regime’s explanations and other evidence, Tehran gave in and essentially admitted to pursuing uranium enrichment. The Lashkar-Ab’ad center was then put under inspection by the IAEA.
Dr. El Baradei, in his November 2004 Report to the IAEA board has clarified that:
Article 21: In its letter of 21 October 2003, Iran acknowledged that the uranium metal had been intended not only for the production of shielding material, as previously stated, but also for use in its laser enrichment program (the existence of which, as discussed below, Iran had previously not acknowledged, and which was only declared to the Agency in that same letter of 21 October 2003)
Article 22: In light of this, the declared rationale for the original construction of the natural uranium metal process line at UCF (i.e. the supply of uranium metal to its laser enrichment program) is credible.
Article 52: As with respect to its centrifuge enrichment activities, Iran ‘s responses between February 2003 and October 2003 to the Agency’s enquiry into the possible existence in Iran of a laser enrichment program were characterized by concealment, including the dismantling of the laser enrichment laboratories at TNRC and the pilot laser enrichment plant at Lashkar Ab’ad and the transfer of the equipment and material involved to Karaj, and by failures to declare nuclear material, facilities and activities.
Article 53: Although Iran acknowledged the existence of a substantial program on lasers in May 2003, it stated that no uranium enrichment related laser activities had taken place in Iran and that it currently had no program for laser isotope separationâ€¦
Article 54: In its letter dated 21 October 2003, Iran finally acknowledged that, between 1975 and 1998, it had concluded contracts related to laser enrichment using both AVLIS and MLIS techniques with four foreign entities. In the letter, Iran provided detailed information on the various contracts, and acknowledged that it had carried out laser enrichment experiments using previously undeclared imported uranium metal at TNRC between 1993 and 2000, and that it had established a pilot plant for laser enrichment at Lashkar Ab ‘ad, where it had also carried out experiments using imported uranium metal. According to information provided subsequently by the Iranian authorities, the equipment used there had been dismantled in May 2003, and transferred to Karaj for storage together with the uranium metal used in the experiments, before the Agency was permitted to visit Lashkar Ab’ad in August 2003. The equipment and material were presented to Agency inspectors at Karaj on 28 October 2003.
Article 55: During the Agency ‘s complementary access to the mass spectrometry laboratories at Karaj in December 2003, the Agency examined two mass spectrometers that had not been included in Iran’s declaration of 21 October 2003. Iran acknowledged that the mass spectrometers had been used at Karaj in the past to provide analytical services (isotope enrichment measurements) to the AVLIS program, and gave the Agency a list of samples that had been analysedâ€¦
Article 57: The contract for the supply of AVLIS equipment to Lashkar Ab ‘ad was followed by the conclusion of a number of related agreements with the same supplier. Iran has stated that, due to the inability of the supplier to secure export licences for some of the equipment, only some of it, along with some training and documentation, was provided under the contractâ€¦
Article 58: While the contract for the AVLIS facility at Lashkar Ab ‘ad was specifically written for the delivery of a system that could demonstrably achieve enrichment levels of 3.5% to 7%, it is the opinion of Agency experts that the system, as designed and reflected in the contract, would have been capable of HEU production had the entire package of equipment been deliveredâ€¦
This new information about Iran’s laser enrichment program is very significant, because it shows that Iran is now seeking three ways in its race to get the nuclear bomb;
Uranium enrichment using centrifuges;
Plutonium using a heavy water reactor in Arak; and,
Laser enrichment in Lashkar Ab’ad and other places
The new information about laser enrichment also shows that Ahmadinejad has no intention to abandon Iran’s nuclear weapons program.
I want to end by emphasizing the significance of today’s revelations as well as the role Ahmadinejad’s presidency has played with regard to Iran’s nuclear weapons program.
1. Iran is increasingly moving its nuclear weapons program underground, making it even more secretive, while promising transparency in negotiations; There is a gap between Iranian regime’s deeds and words.
2. Iran is increasingly bringing its nuclear program under the control of the Revolutionary Guards, a further indication of a military nuclear weapons program, as opposed to a civilian nuclear energy program.
3. While trying to keep the negotiations alive, Iran has sped up its program to gain access to its first nuclear bomb as rapidly as possible. Evidence of Iran’s nuclear intentions abounds, and includes:
The November 2004 revelation of Lavizan II site,
The February 2005 revelation of Lavizan II,
The March 2005 revelation on the development of Laser enrichment in Parchin,
Speeding up the construction of the Arak nuclear facility in May 2005,
Resumption of conversion at the UCF in Isfahan in August 2005,
The 2005 revelations about building secret tunnels,
Resumption of nuclear-related activities in the frozen site of Natanz as well as January 2006 revelation about preparing to install some 5000 centrifuges, are vivid examples of accelerating nuclear weapons activities.
Starting the production line of the Arak Heavy Water Facility in August 2006,
Manufacturing advanced P-2 machines secretly,
Introducing a new batch of UF6 to centrifuge cascade in Natanz, when, in fact, the regime was supposed to halt enrichment
It’s clear where Tehran is headed with its nuclear program. The three year negotiations between the EU3 and Iran have backfired, and have shifted Iran’s status from a defensive to an offensive player. The policy of indecisiveness pursued by the EU3 has further emboldened the Iranian regime. Blacklisting Iran’s main opposition, who provided much of the information on Iran’s nuclear weapons program, has also proven counter productive. I therefore challenge the European Union to act decisively and without wasting any time to impose oil, arms, diplomatic and political sanctions on the Iranian regime.
Source: / iranwatch /