Mo METFAZ, mo' problems

Of all the parts of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh’s SPND (سپند) organisation, the group known as CREST or METFAZ (ضربه و انفجار فناوری تحقیقات مرکز or متفاز) will have surely the hardest time justifying its existence to Iran’s new government.

METFAZ is a nuclear weapon component workshop, plain and simple. For the past decade, METFAZ and its members have been busy either making explosive components for nuclear weapons (that would be pre-2004) or perfecting technologies (post-2004) that they think will be needed to build nuclear weapons, should the green‑light ever be given by Iran’s Supreme Leader.

In the wake of the Geneva deal, the sort of work that METFAZ does is completely indefensible.

To recount an earlier Redline post, METFAZ’s past sins have included:

Running explosive test laboratories at Parchin (پرچين) and Sanjariun (سنجریون) to develop nuclear weapon-relevant explosive components.

Inheriting and further refining the multi-point initiation system design for nuclear weapons.

Conducting research on high-voltage spark gaps, used to trigger nuclear weapon implosions.

Now we’ve got a nuclear deal, METFAZ is in serious danger of being run out of business. They’re an embarrassment to a government that is otherwise making some good progress on the nuclear file. And it won’t just be Redline who is thinking along these lines.

To help out Iran’s de-METFAZization, here’s a series of METFAZ officials who you’ll be seeing at an unemployment office very soon.

To help out Iran’s de-METFAZization, here’s a series of METFAZ officials who you’ll be seeing at an unemployment office very soon.

1. Mohammad Reza Kiani (کيانى رضا محمد)

Apparently, Kiani is a qualified mechanical engineer with degrees from Malek Ashtar University (دانشگاه مالک اشتر) and Islamic Azad University (دانشگاه آزاد اسلامی).

Kiani also looks like the person who METFAZ calls upon when they want to break out the Russian edition of Vyacheslav Danilenko and the Chamber of Secrets. With the Parchin test chamber out of business since late 2003, Redline’s sources say that METFAZ now has an experimental explosives testing site at Pakdasht (پاکدشت), which is south of the Parchin area.

Apparently, Kiani spent some time there in January of this year doing explosive test work for METFAZ.

I can’t quite make out Kiani on the satellite imagery, but here’s the METFAZ Pakdasht site location anyway:

alt_Pakdasht

All very interesting. That sort of résumé and work history probably places Kiani near to the top of the METFAZ talent pool.

And it’s quite a crowded talent pool at METFAZ HQ in Tehran Pars (پارس تھران). Other known and suspected METFAZ personnel include (in alphabetical order – and thanks to French publication IntelligenceOnline for many of these names):

2. Gholamreza Aghili Kashe – کشه عقيلي غلامرضا

A member of METFAZ’s Industrial Applications Group. Has METFAZ not noticed that nuclear weapons have no industrial applications?

3. Javad Al-Yasin – یاسین آل جواد

Sanctioned by the European Union back in 2011 as head of METFAZ.

4. Iman Babainejad – بابایی نژاد ایمن

Outed as METFAZ by IntelligenceOnline. Has worked towards a PhD in mechanical engineering at the University of Tehran (تھران دانشگاہ).

5. Saeed Borji – برجی سعید

A well-known Iranian explosives guru closely tied to AMAD work on multi‑point initiation systems. Borji has published research about explosive production of nanodiamonds with Ali Akbar Motallebizadeh (علی اکبر مطلب زاده), also of METFAZ. (Nanodiamonds, of course, are what experts in nuclear weapon explosives research when they’re not allowed to research nuclear weapon explosives)

6. Mojtaba Dadashnejad – نژاد داداش مجتبی

Outed in 2011 as a senior METFAZ official involved in explosive test work associated with the Parchin test chamber.

7. Reza Ebrahimi – ابراھيمى رضا

A business partner of Dadashnejad (anyone want to buy some solar panels? ) and another likely METFAZ member.

8. Mohammad Reza Heydari – حيدرى رضا محمد

Named as an SPND member by IntelligenceOnline – most likely from METFAZ.

9. Seyed Mehdi Hosseini – حسينى مھدى سيد

Outed as SPND by IntelligenceOnline, and probably a member of METFAZ.

10. Mohammad Reza Mehdi Pour

Apparently the new head of METFAZ - which begs the question, what's happened Javad Al-Yasin?

11. Engineer Mastour – مصتور مھندس

Named as an SPND member by IntelligenceOnline – and probably part of METFAZ.

12. Ali Mehdipour Omrani – عمرانی پور مهدی علی

Outed in 2011 by an IntelligenceOnline article as a member of METFAZ. Has been part of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh’s military nuclear research organisation since at least 2009, according to various dissident allegations. According to Emanuele Ottolenghi, Mehdipour Omrani was involved in an explosive test using tungsten some time before 2006,4 probably to simulate the conditions of a nuclear weapon implosion.

13. Khodadad Mihammi – ميھمى خداداد

Outed by IntelligenceOnline as an SPND member, and probably METFAZ.

14. Ahmad Mohammadzadeh – محمدزاده احمد

Named as an SPND member by IntelligenceOnline. Most likely METFAZ.

15. Alireza Molaie – مولایی علیرضا

Outed in 2011 by an IntelligenceOnline article as a member of METFAZ. Want to read some of Molaie’s research on predicting critical constants? No, me neither.

16. Ali Akbar Motallebizadeh – زاده مطلب اکبر علی

Designated by the Australian government for providing support to Iran’s nuclear program. Outed by IntelligenceOnline as a senior member of SPND. Another expert on explosive production of nanodiamonds.

17. Amir Hossein Najarbashi – نجارباشي امير حسین

Outed as an SPND member by IntelligenceOnline. Has done research on 316L stainless steel with Redline’s favourite metallurgist and AMAD man, Seyed Mohammad Mehdi Hadavi (سید محمد مهدی هادوی), as well as with the manager of SPND front company Pardis Medical Pioneers (پیشگامان پزشکی پردیس), Ali Amari Allahyari (علی عماری الهیاری). Good company, if your main interests are detonating tungsten hemispheres in steel chambers.

18. Engineer Nazari – نظرى مھندس

Named as an SPND member by IntelligenceOnline – most likely METFAZ.

19. Alireza Razaghi – رزاقى علیرضا

Outed as an SPND employee by IntelligenceOnline, and probably METFAZ.

20. Darioush Rezaienejad – نژاد رضایی داریوش

alt_Rezaienejad

Author of a 2008 research paper on high-voltage spark gaps, published under the auspices of military university Malek Ashtar University (اشتر مالک دانشگاہ). As the IAEA has described, at that time, Malek Ashtar housed the organisation formerly known as AMAD – and given that research paper, Rezaienejad was almost certainly then a part of Fakhrizadeh’s research organisation. In 2011, Rezaienejad was killed in a mysterious shooting in Tehran.

21. Rasoul Sadighi – صديقى رسول

Metal machinist and miller for METFAZ. I remember reading once – and this may be apocryphal – that the uranium metal pit for China’s first nuclear device was machined in one night, by one man, on a lathe, in a shed. Sadighi may well be SPND’s planned man for that job: dangerous work for many reasons, I’d suggest.

22. Masoud Sadighi Divani – ديوانى صديقى مسعود

Has worked as a head of METFAZ’s Research Department, according to IntelligenceOnline.

23. Shahrokh Sepahi – سپاھى شاھرخ

Responsible for managing METFAZ’s classified information. (Poorly, it seems.)

24. Hamed Tavakoli – توکلى حامد

Named as an SPND member by IntelligenceOnline.

25. Hamidreza Tayeri – طايرى حميدرضا

Outed as SPND by IntelligenceOnline – probably METFAZ.

26. Khosrow Keshan Zare – زارع كشن خسرو

Wrote a joint paper with Darioush Rezaienejad on the interaction of explosives and static electricity. Explosives? Rezaienejad? That spells METFAZ.

And that’s it for now.

Expect more from Redline on METFAZ – the more well‑known the members of METFAZ are, the less chance there is of them being able to continue their secret nuclear weapon-relevant research work. Work, by the way, that is completely contrary to the current spirit of détente between Iran and the West.

Indeed, the longer this détente goes on, the greater the realisation must be for SPND personnel that their aspirations to make nuclear weapons simply don’t have a future: like Bob Dylan said, you don’t need to be a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.

(Note: This Rasoul Sadighi is not to be confused with the rather more famous Rasoul Sadighi-Bonabi (بنابى صديقي رسول),head of the AEOI's Bonab Research Centre and someone who will probably soon make an appearance on this site in his own right.)

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