SPND goes to College


It seems that the usually secretive SPND is getting around a bit more than you might expect.

I’ve just come across this flier for the Third National Conference on Nanoscience Defense Applications (سومین همایش سراسری كاربردهاي دفاعي علوم نانو), held late last year in Tehran at the Imam Hossein University ((دانشگاه جامع امام حسین(ع).

The conference’s website is here.

Look closely at the logos on the bottom of the website and you’ll see that the conference’s sponsors included our good friends at the Defence Innovation and Research Organisation (SPND - سازمان پژوهشهاي نوين دفاعي), the home of Iran’s most secretive military and nuclear-related research.

So why is SPND going back to university? Toga parties? Hazing? Dropping bra bombs on Richard Nixon?

Sadly, probably for none of those reasons.

Take a closer look at the conference’s host - the Imam Hossein University (IHU). IHU, you’ll recall, belongs to none other than the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps: IHU’s chancellor is an IRGC commander; the students are IRGC wannabes; all the staff are IRGC personnel. Even our old friend Mohsen Fakhrizadeh (محسن فخری زاده مهابادی), the long-time head of Iran’s military nuclear research program, guest-lectured at IHU for a while.

In short, Imam Hossein is not likely to rank on this list anytime soon. It’s a military enterprise, run by the hardest of Iran’s hard-core IRGC personnel.

That conference, then, was a military event - showing again just how closely tied SPND is to Irans’s military programs. If you need more convincing, look at the other sponsors on that conference flier: they include Iran’s Ministry of Defence (وزارت دفاع و پشتیبانی نیروهای مسلح) and the Aerospace Industries Organisation (سازمان صنایع هوایی ایران‎), the home of Iran’s ballistic missile programme.

Now, why would SPND be dabbling in nanotechnology - the subject of the conference at IHU?

Simple. Nanoscience is a burgeoning field for Iran’s talented university researchers - and also a burgeoning research area for SPND. There’s plenty of lucrative government grants to be had for work on nano-medicines, nano-fibres, nano-treatments, and nano-metals.

Expect to see more SPND work on nanotechnology in the coming years - it’s one of the few prospective revenue streams the organisation has that is likely to pay off.

Unfortunately, nanotechnology’s applications for bra bombs are probably quite limited. But nuclear bombs, on the other hand…

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