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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Mohsen Fakhrizadeh-Mahabadi

On 27 November 2020 media outlets inside Iran reported the death of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh Mahabadi, the leader of Iran's nuclear program, in the "cold region" of Damavand near Tehran. In a news release, the Young Journalists Club affiliated with Radio and Television described him as "one of the most influential and high-ranking scientists in the field of scientific research" and wrote that "efforts to revive this person were unsuccessful" after the incident.

Confirming this news, the public relations of the Ministry of Defense of Iran also named Mohsen Fakhrizadeh as the head of the Research and Innovation Organization of the Ministry of Defense. A statement from the Ministry of Defense stated that Fakhrizadeh was "severely injured" during the clash and that "the medical team 's efforts to resuscitate him were unsuccessful."

Meanwhile, Fars News Agency wrote in a report that the incident took place on "Mostafa Khomeini Boulevard in Absard" and during the clash, the sound of explosions and barrage was heard. "Three or four other people" who carried out the assassination operation were killed in the clashes, the news agency reported. Tasnim News Agency also reported that "some of Mr. Fakhrizadeh's relatives" were with him and were injured. The news agency announced the time of the clash at 14:30 Tehran time and wrote that in this incident, first a Nissan van exploded in the passage of Mr. Fakhrizadeh's car and then a "shots" were fired at the car. According to reports, three or four other people were killed in the clash, who are said to have been the attackers.

The Ministry of Defense reported "Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was seriously injured and taken to hospital. Unfortunately, the medical team did not succeed in reviving him, and a few minutes ago, this manager and scientist, after years of effort and struggle, achieved a high degree of martyrdom".

The Ministry of Defense and Support of the Armed Forces "congratulates and condoles the cowardly act of assassinating one of its committed and expert managers in the presence of the Supreme Leader and the martyred nation of Islamic Iran."

he Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Mohammad Javad Zarif, issued a statement condemning the assassination of Martyr Mohsen Fakhrizadeh. The Foreign Minister congratulated snd offered condolence on the martyrdom of this prominent scientist and successful director to the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, Grand Ayatollah Khamenei, the Iranian people, his colleagues in the Ministry of Defense and especially the family of "this great martyr".

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu named Fakhrizadeh as the mastermind of Iran's nuclear program when he announced that Mossad agents had stolen Iran's nuclear documents. In recent years, there had been numerous reports of the Israeli government attempting to assassinate Mohsen Fakhrizadeh.

Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was known as the founder of the Iranian nuclear weapons program that was "suspended" in 2003. Mohsen Fakhrizadeh Mahabadi, also known as Dr. Hassan Mohseni, is the key individual in the regime's nuclear weapons program. Iranian media rarely mention him. Western analysts acknowledge that little was publicly known about Fakhrizadeh, though he was once named one of the five Iranian personalities in the list of the 500 most powerful figures in the world by Foreign Policy magazine.

The Iranian media described him as a "scientist working in the Ministry of Defense and a "former director of the Physics Research Center" or a "university professor."

He was a veteran IRGC brigadier general and according to the IAEA, work on the Amad plan was stopped pursuant to a ďhalt orderĒ issued by the Iranian leadership in late 2003. However, Iran preserved its Amad-era records, and Fakhrizadeh assumed the principal organizational role as the head of Iranís Organization for Defense Innovation and Research, better known by its Persian acronym SPND, established in February 2011. Since the implementation of changes within SPND during the presidency of Hassan Rouhani, this organization was placed under the direct supervision of Brig. Gen. Hosseib Dehqan, Rouhani's Defense Minister. All of SPND's personnel and experts continued their activities and there have been no changes to the structure of the organization.

Although the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) had on multiple occasions requested an interview with him, the Iranian regime has refused. Due to his involvement in the regime's nuclear weapons program, his name was listed among other sanctioned individuals on the UN Security Council's Resolution 1747 in March 2007.

On 08 July 2008 the US Department of State designated under Executive Order 13382 two key Iranian individuals and one entity of proliferation concern. This included Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh-Mahabadi, for engaging in activities and transactions that contributed to the development of Iranís nuclear program. Fakhrizadeh was included in the list of persons involved in Iranís nuclear or ballistic missile activities in the annex of UNSCR 1747. The UNSC identified Fakhrizadeh as a senior scientist at the Ministry of Defense and Armed Forces Logistics (MODAFL) and former head of the Physics Research Centre (PHRC).

He attended the third North Korean nucleat test in February 2013 as an observer. This is one clear indicator of a collaboration between Iran and North Korea on nuclear weapons, ballistic missiles, and conventional arms that over time has become as extensiv and intimate as that between the United Statea and the United Kingdom - one program doing business at two locations.

The Obama administration began negotiations of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) with the goal of preventing a nuclear Iran. Signed on 14 July 2015, the deal lifted sanctions on international nonproliferation violators, including Mohsen Fakhrizadeh-Mahabadi, known as the ďfatherĒ of the Iranian nuclear program.

On 22 March 2019, the US Departments of State and the Treasury designated Iranian entities and individuals under Executive Order (E.O.) 13382, which targets proliferators of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and WMD delivery systems and their supporters. The individuals and entities designated are all linked to Iranís Organization of Defensive Innovation and Research, SPND.

SPND has employed as many as 1500 individuals Ė including numerous researchers associated with the Amad plan, who continue to carry out dual-use research and development activities, of which aspects are potentially useful for nuclear weapons and nuclear weapons delivery systems. Further, SPNDís subordinate organizations spend millions of dollars each year on a broad spectrum of projects. The United States designated SPND under E.O. 13382 in November 2014 for its proliferation-sensitive activities.

Although the underlying organization went through name changes and reorganizations since the early 2000s, the key leaders and subject matter experts remained in place, meaning individuals who were involved in the AMAD plan continue to be employed by what is now SPND or an SPND subordinate group Ė most notably, the organizationís head, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh. SPND, includes the technical experts and critical entities linked to Iranís previous nuclear weapons effort. These are entities and people who continue to operate in Iranís defense sector, which meant that the intellectual firepower behind the AMAD program very much continued to exist in Iran,

Mohsen Fakhrizadeh is the head of this organization. The SPND employs so many of the same people who worked for him in the nucler weapons effort. At a 2019 briefing, a US Senior Administration Official stated "Itís as if we had Ė so itís as if some evil version of Robert Oppenheimer had been kept in charge of keeping the Manhattan Project crew together for years afterwards pretending that they were Ė or even legitimately working on other things but being very carefully kept together in order to be able to be called upon to get back to their original line of work. That tells you what you need to know. This is not your run-of-the-mill defense organization; this is the reconstitution weapons program waiting for an opportunity to be restarted". Of course, this is exactly what the USA did in the 1950s with the Atomic Energy Comission support for high energy physics research.

This is a way to keep the staff together, as it were, and to provide a reconstitution capability for that weapons program to the Iranian regime should it choose to use that. SPND is in a sense the bureaucratic survivor and inheritor of that nuclear weapons program, and its continued existence highlights the problem of Iran continuing to try to maintain the option for itself of going back to its old way that we are obviously trying to prevent from occurring.

This is a danger that was highlighted by the Iranian nuclear archive, which the Israelis rather daringly spirited out of Iran not too long ago, but is an extraordinarily important point to remember because the very squirreling away of all of those carefully preserved records from that program also goes to this point of reconstitution. And so essentially the regime was trying to prepare for itself what the perfect storm for proliferation breakout. Under the JCPOA, Iran would have been permitted in a number of yearsí time to build, essentially, any enrichment capacity it wanted for uranium and to hold, essentially, any quantity of enriched uranium.

At the same time, it had squirreled away those records from its prior weapons program and it had been maintaining the people who worked on that program and keeping them employed in things that were intended to keep those skills sharp. This situation speaks volumes about Iranís strategic intentions to maintain the option for rapid reconstitution of a nuclear weapons program.

Following the assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, head of the Research and Innovation Organization of the Ministry of Defense and Armed Forces Support, which led to his martyrdom, Maj. Gen. Mohammad Bagheri, Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces, expressed his condolences in a message. According to the Defense Communication and Propaganda Center, the text of the message of Sardar Major General Mohammad Bagheri is as follows:

"And those who are killed in the way of God, their deeds will never be wasted. God will soon guide them and make them well, and will grant them refuge in the Paradise which He has described for them." "Once again, the terrorists affiliated with the global arrogance and the evil Zionist regime, in a brutal act, martyred one of the managers and servants of the country's scientific, research and defense fields.

"Martyr Dr. Mohsen Fakhrizadeh; The head of the Research and Innovation Organization of the Ministry of Defense and Armed Forces Support was one of the senior managers of the country's defense industry who had been the source of many services during his blessed life and was able to bring the country's defense capability to an acceptable level of deterrence. The assassination of this capable and worthy manager, although it was a bitter and heavy blow to the country's defense complex, but the enemies of Cordell know that the path started by the Fakhrizadeh martyrs will never be stopped. The terrorist groups and the perpetrators of this blind act should also know that severe revenge awaits them.

"While congratulating and condoling the martyrdom of this scientist in the defense industry to the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, the Minister of Defense and Support of the Armed Forces, his colleagues and the precious family of the martyr; We assure you that we will not stop prosecuting and punishing the perpetrators of this assassination of Martyr Mohsen Fakhrizade."

Mohammad Marandi, a professor at the University of Tehran and a member of Iran's JCPOA negotiating delegation, told Al Jazeera that the only result from the assassination is that ďit is going to make Iranians more assertive when it comes to dealing with its antagonists... It is too late for western intelligence agencies or the Israeli intelligence agencies or the MEK terrorist organisation that is backed by the EU and the US Ė it is too late for them too do anything about Iranís nuclear program,Ē Marandi said. ďFifty years ago if they carried out this attack it wouldíve had an impact. But now Iranís nuclear program is developed, itís highly diverse. It has many young scientists and these murders will be more detrimental to Iranís antagonists, I believe than Iran... [Fakharizadeh] was one of the first generation of people in Iran who helped develop nuclear technology".

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Page last modified: 09-02-2022 18:47:26 ZULU