– Iran has made several efforts to preserve and promote the know-how and technology gained during the AMAD project (the Iranian nuclear weapons project to produce a nuclear warhead for the Shehab 3).

– All known incarnations had three things in common: Headed by Fakhrizadeh, relevant basic building blocks and a solid connection to a university.

– The Iranian space research center (ISRC), home to the satellite program, includes an alarming percentage of these characteristics, especially as the missile technology is based on IRGC capabilities, thus providing a back door to relevant know how.

– Western Universities and countries might find themselves willing to help Iran with agriculture satellites while aiding, deliberately or not, the Iranian nuclear weapon program.

– The ISRC is designated from September 3 rd 2019 by OFAC, pursuant to Executive Order 13382, as dealing in missile technology connected to the IRGC.

– Therefore, we believe that the ISRC should be considered a possible reincarnation of the Iranian weaponization group and as such, it should be researched and most probably sanctioned from a broader point of view.


Iran’s nuclear weapon program has undergone several changes over the years, mainly as a reaction to exposure of one or more critical elements. Starting as a part of SHIG under Abbas Shahmoradi, the project evolved into the PHRC under the same administration, later passed on to Mohsen Fakhrizadeh Mahabadi. Eventually, as Iran entered the stage of building and maintaining a weaponization group, the so-called AMAD project, another exposure, and the presence of US forces right across the border in Iraq, forced the Iranian leadership into a halt. This halt was in no way an abolition of the program, but a renewed change, this time for the preservation of the achieved stages and goals met in late 2003. The AMAD project was under the responsibility of the Educational Research Institute (ERI), at that time headed by the now head of AEOI, Mohammad Eslami.

At that time, they reorganized the nuclear weapons program yet another time into a semi-academic order, still retaining the main figures of the weaponization group. This constellation was referred to as the Section for Advanced Development Applications and Technologies (SADAT). In a later stage, Head of PHRC, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, later Head of AMAD and Head of SADAT, was nominated as Head of Malek Ashtar University, providing him with the needed academic angle to preserve the know-how as well as the personnel. Later, SADAT reorganized into SPND, (Sazman-e Pazhouhesh-haye Novin-e Defa’ei), or Organization of Defensive Innovation and Research. The same elements under the same boss with the sameconnection to the Iranian academic institutes. Just another name with another address.


It is reasonable to assume, that the weapon program has undergone at least another change in name and hierarchy, keeping the three main features: Head was Fakhrizadeh, there must be an academic backbone to explain, if needed, advanced research and the preservation of the weaponization building blocks.

Such a program will usually rely, at least partially, on foreign technologies and know how. That is why academic relations with high-tech countries and nuclear powers are so important.

One plausible solution to the question, what happened to SPND in its revolutions, is the Iranian Space Research Center: It is funded and run by the ERI, headed by Mohsen Fakhrizadeh Mahabadi, which is his last known nomination, before his assassination in November 2020. The SPND key official Mohammad Ebrahimi is now head of the Department of Aerodynamics in the ISRC. The different research institutes under the ISRC have research and development capabilities in explosive / propellants, metallurgy, chemistry, high end computation and missile technology. Theacademic backbone is supplied by Amir Kebir university, which has good foreign connections. We therefore assess that the ISRC is a feasible reincarnation of Iran weaponization preservation group and should be viewed not only in aspects of the satellite program.


The following table shows a comparison between the building blocks of a weaponization group as presented by Professor Houston Wood III and the timeline of reincarnations of AMAD, with SADAT in approximately 2004-5, SPND in appr. 2008/9 and currently the ISRC.

Comparison between the definition of a weaponization group and the incarnation in Iran

Weaponization GroupSADATSPNDISRC incl. research institutes
Plan and implement the programReadiness and Modern Defense TechnologiesHead of SPNDPresident of ISRC
Explosives or porpellantsResearch of Explosive and Shock TechnologiesExplosive SystemsEnergy Generators Research Group
Theoretical and experimental physicsProduction Research CenterRadiation and applied PhysicsElectronics and Telecommunications, Bio-Technology, nano-technology, Acoustic, Wave and Environment
Chemistry, RadiochemistryThe Chemistry Group?Chemistry Laboratory
Purification of metallic uranium or plutaniumThe Metallurgy GroupNeutronics, radiation and healthMachinery Workshops, Metal Shaping, Vacuum Casting, CNC, filamen Widening, Autclave
Coordinate with other portions of the nuclear weapon program and the delivery systems programs.R&D of Advanced Aeronautical TechnologiesSatellites, Plasma and missilesSatellite Systems Engineering Research Group. Power and Data Processing Research Group
Arming and fusing systems, and safety systemsSecurity division of the FieldCyber defense?Security Management>
Plans for experimentsPlanning division of the FieldCoordination and oversightNon-Destructive laboratory (N.D.T)
Theoretical Computation and foreign aidScience division of the FieldMalek Ashtar UniversityAmir Kebir University
AdministrationAdministration and Personnel division of the FieldCognitive science and human performance?ERI
This program will require considerable secrecy, complicating its progressLaw and Inspection division of the FieldTreay evasionManagement and International Affairs



ifmat - Is the Iranian satellite program harboring the reincarnation of the nuclear weapons project


ifmat - Is the Iranian satellite program harboring the reincarnation of the nuclear weapons project 2

ISRC (not including the research institutes)

ifmat - Is the Iranian satellite program harboring the reincarnation of the nuclear weapons project 6

Ebrahimi on personnel list from Researchgate

ifmat - Is the Iranian satellite program harboring the reincarnation of the nuclear weapons project 4

Ebrahimi in SPND according to Iranredline

ifmat - Is the Iranian satellite program harboring the reincarnation of the nuclear weapons project 5