Information on the Iranian Regime
Clandestine "TABA" Site for Production of Centrifuge Parts
April 7, 2011
Hay Adams Hotel, Washington Room
Today, we will reveal a site that for the past four-and-a-half years have been secretly used for the manufacturing of parts for centrifuges utilized in the Iranian regime’s nuclear program.
The details on this site were made possible by extensive and vigilant investigation, research and intelligence work by the internal network of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) inside Iran. The work, as complicated as it has been entailed serious risks and danger for the sources.
This site is one of the secret centers affiliated with the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) and plays a significant role in producing centrifuge parts and advancing the secret portions of the Iranian regime’s nuclear program. Within the AEOI, it is known as the Tehran Complex but it is also referred to as TABA complex.
The various parts that are manufactured in this site include casing, magnets, molecular pumps, composite tubes, Bellows, and centrifuge bases. These are essentially the parts used for the production of IR-1 type centrifuges. But there are also parts related to more advanced centrifuges that are also produced at this site.
Over the course of the past four-and-a-half years, parts for tens of thousands of centrifuges have been manufactured at this site and secretly relocated (for example, during this period, an average of 200 centrifuge bases were produced daily at TABA site).
Tehran has now produced parts for over 100,000 centrifuge machines, which is way beyond the need for the uranium enrichment sites already known.
The significance of the site lies in the fact that the IAEA’s February 2011 report on Iran states, “Since early 2008, Iran has not responded to Agency requests for access to additional locations related, inter alia, to the manufacturing of centrifuges, and to R&D on uranium enrichment. As a result, the Agency’s knowledge about Iran’s enrichment activities continues to diminish.” Contrary to the relevant resolutions of the Board of Governors of the IAEA and the UN Security Council, the Iranian regime has not suspended its enrichment related activities.
Although affiliated with the regime’s AEOI, the Defense Ministry actually directly supervises the operations at this site. Specifically, an individual identified as Jafar Mohammadi, one of the highest ranking experts in centrifuge production in the Defense Ministry monitors the operations at the TABA site. Mohammadi previously worked at the Defense Ministry’s military industries branch. His name appears on the UN Security Council sanctions list (according to UNSC Resolution 1737, Annex C, he is listed as a technical advisor of AEOI and in charge of the production of centrifuge valves).
The TABA site, comprised of three main steel frame warehouses, has an area of 47,977 square meters with dimensions of about 200x250 meters.
The site is located 10 km into the Karaj-Qazvin highway, Souha Boulevard (before Kordan exit), second factory on the right hand side (across from the Shafasari Company).
Soufa Company is located on its south side, Nirou Moharrakeh Company (abandoned) is on its north side, Nayyer Pars Company is on the east and Shafasari Company is situated on the western side of the site.
Background of the site:
Following revelations about Natanz, Arak and several other nuclear-related sites by the MEK in 2002 and 2003, the Iranian regime was forced to show a portion of its nuclear and a number of its centrifuge production sites to the IAEA inspectors in 2003. Following the inspections, the regime was forced to suspend the production of parts for centrifuges and shut down the activities in the related factories. Two of the more important factories for the production of centrifuge parts that were sealed and their operations were frozen were Farayand Technique Company located in Esfahan’s Ashtarijan district and the Pars Trash Company located in Tehran’s Kahrizak region.
In January 2006, the regime broke the seals in those factories and brought the factories back into operation. But, in order to be able to continue its production of centrifuges in secret, in September 2006, it transferred a significant portion of the operations of these two factories to the new TABA site.
Prior to it being used for the production of centrifuge parts, this site belonged to a company called the Iran Cutting Tools Manufacturing (identified by its Farsi abbreviation of Towlid Abzar Boreshi Iran [TABA]). In September 2006, the AEOI completely took over the company without making any modifications.
TABA was in fact an affiliate of the Social Welfare Investments Company, a government institution. But it was agreed at the time that the site be used by and transferred to the AEOI.
The site itself was purchased by ESNICO Company (Equipment Supplier for Nuclear Industries Corporation), an affiliate of the AEOI, from TABA Company. ESNICO’s Chairwoman, Haleh Bakhtiar, was the purchaser and Mohammad Hassan Vafaee, TABA’s Chairman, was the seller. Haleh Bakhtiar, whose name appears on the UN Security Council sanctions resolution 1803, has received an official award from Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and is also involved in the production of magnesium with 99.9% purity.
ESNICO took over TABA initially on behalf of the AEOI, but subsequently another AEOI affiliate company called TESA (Iran Centrifuge Technology Company) took over control of TABA. TESA’s Chairman is Jafar Mohammadi. TESA and TABA were actually involved in joint operations and TESA is part of ESNICO.
As a first step, in September 2006, portions of TESA’s operations were relocated to this site. The director of the company was identified as Amjad Sazegar. He was relocated five months ago, and currently Rahimi is the site’s internal manager. Starting in mid-2008, a large portion of operations at Pars Trash Company, another one of AEOI companies involved in production of centrifuges, were transferred to this site.
It is worth mentioning that the old TABA officially ended its operations in April 2009 and was completely shut down. But, in order to keep things normal and avoid raising suspicions, this site still uses the cover of TABA Company and operates under that name, while producing centrifuge parts.
TABA Site ties with the Defense Ministry:
TABA has extensive ties with the regime’s Defense Ministry. Currently, some parts of the centrifuge machines are being manufactured through cooperation between TABA and Shahid Shafi’zadeh Industrial Complex, a subsidiary of the Defense Ministry’s Aerospace Industries Organization (AIO). This complex is protected by tall walls and has observation towers.
Some parts of the centrifuges, including centrifuge tubes are being manufactured by advanced machines in Shafi’zadeh Industrial Complex, which has advanced CNC machines. Shafi’zadeh is located in Alborz Industrial City about 15 km east of Qazvin, and 130 km west of Tehran. This site is also used for manufacturing missile parts.
Some other parts of the centrifuges are being manufactured by advance metal machines in Ya Mahdi industries, which is a subsidiary of the Aerospace Industries Organization of the Defense Ministry.
Ya Mahdi Industries is on the list of companies that have been sanctions in UN Security Council Resolution 1747. It is located in the Lavizan-Shian region (next to the razed nuclear site).
Brig. Gen. Kazem Beigi is the head of both industries.
Another example of the Defense Ministry using TABA site secretly relates to the use of Ghalaviz warehouse for aerospace production. All commute to the site were undertaken secretly and Thursday nights because the site was closed on Fridays. (Friday is a national holiday in Iran).
Defense Ministry experts would enter around midnight to 1:00 am and depart around 5:00 am. Resistance’s sources working at the site informed us that these experts would bring in a rocket-type equipment that had been covered. So sensitive was this work that even the site’s security personnel were not permitted to get close to the site while work was underway there during that period.
Another example of close cooperation between the Defense Ministry and TABA relates to the manufacture of a series of parts, such as the bases for the centrifuges by Defense Ministry’s experts.
The official in charge is a Defense Ministry expert, named Mohammad Mehdi Shah Mehdi. He is in charge of the assembly section in the Aerospace Industries Organization. The experts worked in the Holder warehouse. Other personnel of the AEOI were prohibited from entering this section.
Our sources say that in addition to manufacturing centrifuge parts, extensive research was being conducted by the Defense Ministry at that location. Due to the sensitive nature of the work, the personnel had their brief cases, loaded with documents, chained to their hands when commuting to the site.
Security and methods used for hiding the site:
Following the transfer of the site to the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, the AEOI security took control of the site and drastically reduced commute to it. The location has no signs on the outside so that it does not get too much attention. Every effort has been made to avoid any modifications to the outside of the site, which is still considered to be highly sensitive in terms of security. All telephone conversations carried out using the site’s 30 phone lines are monitored at a central location.
Cameras have been installed underneath the site’s water storage tank in order to monitor all movements in the area. Bringing in electronic devices like laptops are strictly prohibited.
Activities within the site:
The site contains three large warehouses housing the factory’s equipment.
The large warehouse (“Tighcheh”): It is located on the northeastern part of the site and is referred to as “Tighcheh” (“cutter”) by the workers, since it was previously used for the production of mini-cutters. The area is now being used to produce aluminum casing for centrifuges as well as magnets. DMM equipment, imported from Poland or Germany, has been installed in the warehouse to monitor the quality of the production.
There is also a metallurgy lab in this location which is run by an engineer identified as Ms. Masoumeh Shamsi. One of the halls inside this warehouse has press equipment to produce magnates, and is run by Ali Eftekhari. Across from the laboratory is the location for router wiring.
The central warehouse (“Holder”): It is located at the center of the site and is referred to as “Holder.” Most of the centrifuge pieces have been produced here. The Holder location has over 20-25 large and automatic CNC machinery. The basic piercing and stone cutting is carried out here, and the location also has equipment used to carry out quality assurance. One of the pieces produced here are Molecular Pumps with spiral grooves. The storage center for equipment is also located in the Holder. There is also a location for washing the parts. At the back of the Holder warehouse, there is an open storage area where obsolete equipment is stored.
The south warehouse (“Ghalaviz”): The third warehouse is located on the south side and is referred to as Ghalaviz. This location is where Bellows are manufactured. This is where the site’s classified documents are being kept.
This complex of buildings are situated on the right side of the entrance (bottom left of the imagery).
The first building closest to the warehouses is the management office. The conference hall and the office of the director of the manager’s office, Aqajanlou, are located in the same building.
The second building is an administrative area where the central call center is located. There is also a small commerce office which is run by Safakish. There are three adjacent rooms. The first room is for internet servers, the second room is for the director of the site’s security, and the third room is for physical protection. The pervious person responsible for the latter was Mohammad Sadeq Abazari.
Behind these three rooms is the financial directorate. There is another area for planning which is run by Ms. Sara Sohrabkhani. Her deputy is Ali Bahram.
The equipment hall:
The equipment hall is located on the left side of the entrance (top left of the picture).
Examples of manufactured centrifuge parts:
Some of the centrifuge parts manufactured in this site include:
Casing: This is an aluminum pipe that covers the surface of the centrifuges. Previously, these parts were produced by Pars Trash Company, but the machinery used by that company was later transferred to this site. Pars Trash is listed in the UN Security Council resolution 1737.
Composite tubes: This piece was previously produced at the Tehran plant but production was later transferred to TABA. The foundry for these tubes was previously at a company called Tamco in the city of Zanjan, northwest Iran, which also produced bases. The company was Italian-Iranian. The rest of operations for producing this part are carried out at the current location of TABA.
Centrifuge magnets: A piece of machinery called magnetizer has been transferred to the TABA plant where magnets were being charged. These magnates were then sent to Natanz and Fardou (in Qom). Previously, these parts were produced by Maddah Hosseini (an expert and professor) in Sharif University of Technology in Tehran.
Molecular Pump: Another part produced in this plant is Molecular Pump with internal spiral grooves.
- Today’s revelation shows the Iranian regime’s heightened deception and concealment policy in order to get to the bomb as rapidly as possible. This continuing and systematic effort has made it abundantly clear that international sanctions, albeit necessary, have not had the desired impact in halting the advancement of Tehran’s nuclear weapons program, its support for terrorism and crackdown at home.
- In like vein, policy of engagement pursued by successive U.S. administrations has utterly failed to persuade Tehran to abandon its nuclear weapons drive. Given that the military option is impractical and undesirable, the most viable and effective policy that could definitively end the specter of a nuclear-armed fundamentalist regime is one of regime change. That change, however, must and can come from within Iranian society by the Iranian people and led by organized opposition that is committed to a secular, democratic, and non-nuclear Iran.
- In the past few years, the United States has regrettably not only ignored the aspirations of the Iranian people for freedom, but has also retarded the prospects for change by designating the principal opposition movement, the Mujahedin-e Khalq, MEK, as an FTO. The designation has assured Tehran to continue its mad dash towards the bomb with impunity. That designation must now be lifted because it not only lacks any basis in law and facts, but also because it will contribute to democratic change in Iran.
 Soona Samsami was US Representative of National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) until August 2003; She first exposed the Kala Electric nuclear site near Tehran in February 2003.
 Alireza Jafarzadeh, author of The Iran Threat, was Communications Director for the NCRI in the United States until August 2003. Jafarzadeh exposed the uranium enrichment facility in Natanz and heavy water facility in Arak in August 2002 which triggered the IAEA inspection of Iranian sites since 2003.
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