Pining for AMAD


Things are not going well for Mohsen Fakhrizadeh-Mahabadi (محسن فخری زاده مهابادی), the man whose life-long goal is to produce Iran’s first nuclear weapon.

The odds of that goal ever coming to fruition get worse each day. For two reasons.

The first reason is geopolitical: Tehran just keeps coming in from the cold. Against all odds, the Joint Plan of Action is holding up.  European businesses are circling the Iranian market. Regime hardliners are waning in power, not waxing. Most pundits now see the chances of a comprehensive agreement between Iran and the West at least 50 percent - which might seem low, but is actually the highest it’s been for about thirty years.

And the second reason is closer to home for Mohsen Fakhrizadeh: SPND (سازمان پژوهشهاي نوين دفاعي), the organisation that Fakhrizadeh leads - and that he hopes will be the crucible for Iran’s first nuke - is in dire shape.

There’s no money.  Sanctions mean Iran is broke and this affects SPND.  Pay cheques are late and project funding is being cut. It doesn’t take a wizard to recognise that this impacts morale – at SPND, it’s dreadful.

Lucius Malfoy

The only reason SPND has any personnel left at all is because Fakhrizadeh won’t allow them to leave. AMAD SPND certainly ain’t.

And you know what? I don’t blame your average SPND scientist at all. Why would you want to work for a military research centre that can’t afford any proper research and that makes a mockery of the word ‘secret’?.  A research centre that has no funding and whose own seniors don’t turn up to work. 

If I was at SPND right now I’d be dusting off my CV and looking to get out of Mojdeh Street as fast as I could.

But wait a second, could Fakhrizadeh's problems be more than simply Iran’s dodgy economics? After all, with negotiations finally making some headway, the last thing the Iranian government wants is the existence of SPND to complicate a comprehensive agreement. So why not allow SPND to quietly die?  No fanfare or formal orders, simply cut off funding, ‘encourage’ Fakhrizadeh to retire and then sweep up the remains through merging them with a less exposed organization like the Defence Industries Training and Research Institute.  Problem solved, all neat and tidy. 

I love a good conspiracy theory but this one feels like it might just be on the money. What do you think, Minister Dehgan حسین دهقان?

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