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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Iran is Building a Secret Tunnel in Tehran
for Nuclear Weapons Research and Development

Statement by

Alireza Jafarzadeh

President, Strategic Policy Consulting, Inc.

National Press Club, Washington, DC
January 31, 2006

The Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) Involved in the Construction of a Secret Tunnel


According to my sources inside the Iranian regime, sources that have been proven accurate in the past, Iran is constructing a top-secret tunnel as part of its nuclear weapons program.

The secret tunnel carries the codename "Hormuz Tunnel." It is intended to further the regime's nuclear weapons research and development. The tunnel is located in the vicinity of the Mini-City (Shahrak-e Bazi), northeast Tehran.

The location of this tunnel is next to Tehran-Lashkarak Highway in the vicinity of Mini-City sited in the northeastern part of Tehran. This tunnel is to be found in the northern part of Mini-City, in the mountain slopes. It is situated so that it faces the mountain on one side, and from the other, it is positioned at the far end of a residential area. This location is close to a residential area so that it might blend in with a community. That is, it would not appear to be a suspect nuclear site in such a place. This location might deceive inspectors who would not imagine a sensitive nuclear site to be located near a neighborhood.

The design for this tunnel was completed in 2004. Its construction began in March 2005.  The construction company in charge of building this tunnel is Hara Company. Hara is an engineering firm associated with Khatam Al Anbia, which is the main engineering headquarters for the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC).

The company consists of members of IRGC's engineering corps and individuals trusted by the regime. The IRGC uses this company for secret military programs. In the past, this same company has built other tunnels for the nuclear activities of Iran's Defense Ministry. This firm is experienced in building anti-radiation walls, in addition to creating systems for air ventilation. Such systems are designed to prevent radioactive pollution from escaping underground locations and thus to conceal proscribed nuclear weapons activities from being discovered. For example, if inspectors were to take earth samples to determine the presence of banned nuclear activities, they would be hard-pressed to discover radioactive soil because of effective concealment.

It is noteworthy that one of the Hara company's plants, named "Sadaf workshop," is involved in building of a tunnel at the Isfahan nuclear site, known for the presence of the Uranium Conversion Facility. The director of the Sadaf workshop and the Isfahan site's tunnel project is an engineer named Madadi.

The Hormuz tunnel might be described as an under-the-surface type location. That is, it initially goes vertically underground then branches out horizontally.

Below are the details of this facility:

  • A vertical tunnel (or shaft) 50 meters deep
  • The tunnel connects underground to a four-branched parallel tunnel, 6 to 9 meters wide
  • The walls of this tunnel are double-layered; and in the middle, there is a layer of lead used to prevent radiation from leaking.
  • The plan is for the walls of this tunnel to be soundproof.
  • Layers of fiber-glass are to make the tunnel soundproof.

As a norm, in the construction of the regime's military tunnels, engineers include a single concrete layer. But in the case of highly sensitive tunnels, the regime uses double layers. Indicative of the potential nuclear use of this particular tunnel is that it is to be surrounded by double layers encased in fiber glass.

The sources indicate that this tunnel is to be used for nuclear research and development, including workshops and facilities, storage warehouses, and administration. The sources are confident that the tunnel is being built for nuclear weapons research and development.

The tunnel's horseshoe metal frames were built during early January 2006 in Imamzadeh Hashem's workshop, which belongs to Hara Company. These metal frames are being transported to the tunnel by the Hormuz Tunnel personnel from Imamzadeh Hashem workshop whose employees are not permitted to visit the tunnel. That is, those who construct the frames are not able to see the result of their work.

The Hormuz tunnel project is one of the most secretive projects of Hara Company, such that besides the individuals directly responsible for the project, no other employee of Hara Company even knows about this project. If experts, other than the projects' team members wish to visit this location, they first have to set up an appointment to arrive near Mini-City (located in Tehran-Lashkarak road); then they should contact the Hormuz Tunnel office by phone.

The intelligence security office of the tunnel will then pick them up in a car and take them to the tunnel site. The experts working inside this tunnel have been warned by the intelligence security office that they should prevent information leaking about the tunnel or else they will face grave consequences.

Given the loud noise of the tunnel excavation equipment and its location near a residential area, workers began to use less-noisy equipment. They faced similar problems in the initial stages of the earth excavation.

The director of Hormuz tunnel is an engineer named Hashemi-Tabar. Two other main engineers for this construction project are engineer Nowroozi-doust and engineer Dehghan.

In order to continue further with its secret projects, the Hara Company conducts engineering projects excavating tunnels and building extensive concrete buildings all across Iran.

For this purpose, the company is made up of two major branches. One branch is dedicated to "Economic projects" and includes more than 10 extensive plants across Iran. The other branch deals with defense projects. The central office for the defense projects of the Hara Company is located in Tehran, Takhti three-way intersection.

The director of defense projects is engineer Alizadeh. The director of Hara Company is Revolutionary Guards Brigadier General Ehtessam. The Hara Company's defense projects branch has built various tunnels and structures dedicated to the regime's nuclear and missile projects. The Hormuz tunnel is among the utmost secret projects.

I want to end by emphasizing the significance of today's revelations.

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 nuclear weapons program, as opposed to a civilian one.

3.         While promising to keep its program frozen since 2004, to the contrary, Iran has sped up its program to gain access to its first nuclear bomb as rapidly as possible.

    • 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 Arak nuclear facility in May 2005,

    • Production of 4000 centrifuge machines in August 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.

In conclusion, I challenge the IAEA Board of Governors, in its emergency meeting, to send Iran's nuclear file to the United Nations Security Council without further delays.



Satellite imagery of Mini-city in northeastern Tehran


Satellite Imagery of northeastern Tehran,
where tunneling takes place north of "Mini-City" in the mountain slopes

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