SPND beware the ides of March
With the framework of a nuclear deal put in place during long nights in a Swiss hotel, March 2015 may have been the single most important month in the history of SPND (سپند). Not only could an historic nuclear agreement mean the end of any chance of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh (محسن فخری زاده) becoming the Father of the Iranian Bomb, March also marked the deadline for the Iranian budget for 2015-2016. The budget, details of which were considered in the Iranian Parliament (مجلس), addresses how much money Iran spends on things like healthcare, education and defense. With a nuclear deal looking very likely, how much money do you think the Iranian Parliament will want to spend on the clandestine nuclear weapons organisation? Early indications suggest not very much.
President Rouhani is normalising Iranian public expenditure following the wild and incoherent policies of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Although his budget actually significantly increases defense spending, a lot of that can be put down to Iranian activities against the Islamic State and the missile program. SPND meanwhile may have to deal with a significantly reduced research budget for the next year, something that will not have pleased any of the Three Amigos, least of all Mohsen Foroughizadeh (محسن فروغی زاده) who according to reports from last year is Head of the SPND New Technologies Division. Redline thinks SPND won’t be coming up with many new technologies any time soon with an even further reduced budget, although you can hardly blame Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan (حسین دهقان) when previous projects have included Space Cat, Mind Control, Botox and a spectacularly unsuccessful foray into hacking.
A reduction in research budget should hardly come as a surprise to SPND. Redline has already shown that Mohsen Fakhrizadeh may not enjoy the same gilded relationship with Dehghan as he has with other Defense Ministers. In fact we expect that there have been some serious conflicts between the two over this issue. We have also seen that SPND is about as efficient as a Greek tax collector when it comes to generating a profit for the nation. If MODAFL had to plead SPND’s case to the Majles, that can’t have sat too well with Fakhrizadeh. SPND would need a pretty strong business case to take funding away from fighting the Islamic State.
All this, reduced funding and a deal with the West, poses another question. What will all of the people who have made it their life’s work to develop an Iranian nuclear weapon do once that dream has been firmly extinguished? None of the developments of March and April scream ‘job security’ for the employees of SPND.
If Redline was an Iranian nuclear scientist, we would be dusting off the old CV, practising our handshake and perfecting our story statement.Comment on this article...