The Divine Unit and the Death Ray

The northern hemisphere has just been enveloped in a summery haze characterized by ice cream, sunburnt tourists, and teenagers falling in love on vacation. In Iran, whatever summer looks like at SPND, hopefully some of its best and brightest will find the time for some R&R on holiday…it’s not like any of them are snowed under by work at the moment.

SPND’s money woes have continued, with mergers and cost-saving measures. Projects are being moved around and closed down all over the place, and the latest victim is a rather hush-hush SPND project to produce an air defense system with a nifty directed energy weapon (DEW) component . We’ll get to what that means later – for now, let’s call it Project DEW.

Project DEW was one of the SPND’s golden children – it had a big budget and ambitious plans, and until recently SPND overlord Fakhrizadeh (فخری زاده) wanted to give it even more money . Until April it was operating under the auspices of SPND, but as a largely separate administrative entity staffed by contractors from a company called Pak Ravesh Tazrigh (روش تزریق)’ . But suddenly, and with very little fanfare, the project has been moved under the administration of one of SPND’s sub groups .

It seems strange that a project with a high budget and senior support has been shoved under the control of a poorer and less-popular cousin. This could be to save money, or to teach Fakhrizadeh a lesson…or to hide the project somewhere boring as the nuclear deal progresses.

Surprisingly – given our obsession with misbehaving Iranian companies – Pak Ravesh Tazrigh hasn’t crossed Redline’s radar before. So I had a little dig. Pak Ravesh Tazrigh appears on the internet as Padcol, which according to its website (www.padcol.ir), is a simple and honest manufacturer of things like make-up removal pads and hospital swabs. The company director is listed on various business registration websites as Khodadad Vahedi (خداداد واحدی) . Amusingly, Khodadad Vahedi translates directly from Farsi as “Divine Unit”. How’s that for a superiority complex!

So, it looks like Pak Ravesh Tazrigh and Khodadad Vahedi are actually pretty tied-in with Project DEW, which means that the company isn’t just producing make-up removal pads unless the ladies of SPND really do just need contractors to take off their make-up, in which case, my bad. A quick search of the name Khodadad Vahedi reveals that a man of the same name is an Associate Professor at Imam Hussein University (IHU)’s (دانشگاه امام حسین) Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering (واحد مکانیک و مهندسی هوافضا) . Whaaaaaat!

Everyone knows that IHU is the IRGC’s university, and is packed with clever scientists and academics that have weaponization-relevant expertise. Fakhrizadeh even used to lecture there weekly. Professor Vahedi has published all kinds of interesting articles before, including one about ogive-shaped nose steel projectiles going into concrete targets , and another called, “performance optimization of a long-rod penetrator penetrating into a semi-infinite target” . There’s a lot of talk about projectiles and penetration and targets here…it all sounds very kinetic. And funnily enough, an ogive shape looks an awful lot like the pointy nose cone bit of a missile

Redline had a lot of fun reading about DEWs, or as they’re known in fiction, DEATH RAYS. They’re mostly used for air defense and anti-personnel systems – everyone remembers STAR WARS, President Reagan’s plans to produce ICBM-destroying DEWs. The geniuses of the world are also looking at DEWs to protect Earth from asteroids.

So unless Iran is embarking on an altruistic mission to protect the world from asteroids – and hopefully avoid Earth ever being in a position to have to send under-qualified miners into space to blow one up (RIP Bruce Willis) – it’s likely they’re doing something a bit more air defense-y and anti-missile-y with their DEATH RAY. Bruce

And Redline wants to know what it is…as the line goes, I don’t want to miss a thing. Stay tuned folks – Redline is on the case and will find more sneaky SPND companies soon. In the meantime, perhaps exercise caution when shopping for buying make-up removal wipes.

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