Grandfather of the Bomb?

Redline understands that if one thing in the world is certain, it’s that you can’t outrun time. It catches up with all of us in the end.

Unfortunately, with the passage of time comes the passing of knowledge. And if that knowledge happens to be particularly sensitive and technical, like how to build a multi-point detonation system or to machine HEU, it can be very difficult to replace.

There will come a point when SPND (سازمان پژوهش و نوآوری دفاعی or سپند) has to face this problem head on. Mohsen Fakhrizadeh (محسن فخری زاده) is just not that young anymore, some of the other key SPND scientists are approaching retirement age. Maybe that’s why they are investing in botox production, although it might have something to do with Botox’s potential chemical warfare properties . Having a Botox-induced blank expression would certainly help when dealing with IAEA inspectors.


The history of nuclear weapons production tells us that if you haven’t done it before you hit 50; you probably won’t be the one to make the breakthrough.

Robert Oppenheimer had just turned 41 when the Manhattan Project culminated in the first atomic bomb being detonated in New Mexico back in 1945.

Igor Kurchatov was a youthful 46 when First Lightning struck and Russia became a nuclear superpower.

Klaus Fuchs and AQ Khan, the notorious ‘atomic spies’, were both in their 30’s when they transferred nuclear secrets to the Soviet Union and Pakistan respectively.

Mohsen Fakhrizadeh is 53 and he has no nuclear weapon.

Akbar Motallebizadeh (علی اکبر مطلب زاده) is 51. Ok, so Mohsen Forughizadeh (محسن فروغی‌ زاده) is only 45, but Redline has already said he probably won’t be around much longer.

What is their legacy then? And what does keeping these under-achievers in charge say about the future of SPND?

The odds are that history will remember Mohsen Fakhrizadeh not as the ‘Father of the Iranian Bomb’, but as the man whose inability to successfully finish the AMAD plan in secret meant that Iran was plunged into over a decade of economic hardship and increasing brinkmanship with the West.

Redline feels for Mohsen but imagine how life must be for the hundreds of SPND employees who have to work in an organisation where the top management have nothing left to strive for? Their best days behind them, meandering into retirement and ensuring the careers of young Iranian academics stagnate.

Old Mohsen and the other AMAD veterens must often wonder what might have been if they had just kept the whole thing secret. But while they are telling SPND new starters about the good old days, the young scientists would be better off asking what exactly they are going to achieve with the Grumpy Old Men in charge.

Sorry Mohsen, but even producing thousands of vials of Botox won’t turn back the clock. Cher isn’t fooling anyone and neither are you.

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