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Iranian Regime’s Plan and Attempts to Start Uranium Enrichment at Natanz

REMARKS BY ALIREZA JAFARZADEH, PRESIDENT
STRATEGIC POLICY CONSULTING, INC.

January 10, 2006

• The Iranian regime is in the process of rapidly building and installing centrifuge installation platforms within the main halls of the Natanz site

• The Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) and the Iranian Defense Ministry are mainstays of the uranium enrichment program

1. The Iranian regime made an international commitment to freeze all uranium enrichment activities. Based on information I have received from my own sources within the Iranian regime and in spite of the regime’s commitment, it has continued building non-stop the various sections of the uranium enrichment facility at Natanz.

2. After the new President of the Iranian regime, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, visited the site in Natanz in July 2005, the regime intensified its efforts in order to resume operations at Natanz.

3. While making preparations for the Natanz site, the regime has at the same time continued with its plan for building centrifuge machines, which is a clear breach of its agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the European Union (EU) to freeze all enrichment-related activities.

4. Again, based on information I have received from my sources inside the Iranian regime, Tehran’s plan is to start enrichment in several stages. This plan is similar to last August 2005, when after Ahmadinejad assumed power, the regime restarted operations at the Uranium Conversion Facility in Isfahan. The Iranian regime has made a conscious decision to acquire and impose a complete nuclear fuel cycle on the world community, which the regime mockingly describes as “power diplomacy.”

5. Impetus for construction at Natanz comes from how the international community failed to react to Tehran’s violations at Isfahan. The regime’s experts have described the re-start of operations at the Isfahan site and lack of a serious reaction from the European countries as proof for an aggressive policy. Steps taken in order to restart operations at the Natanz site

6. In future phases, the regime intends to restart the nuclear fuel cycle process in Natanz, step-by-step, until the international community is faced with a fait accompli.

7. In the first step, under the guise of “nuclear research,” the regime plans to make public a part of its activities regarding building, production, installation, and testing of centrifuge machines.

8. In the next step, the regime plans to begin injecting uranium hexafluoride gas into centrifuge machines in Natanz and officially start the enrichment process. Iran believes that in light of developments in Iraq, the regime would face little opposition from the international community when accelerating its quest to build a complete nuclear fuel cycle.

Preparations for installing centrifuge machines

9. Ever since I exposed the Natanz nuclear site on August 14, 2002, the regime has continued its construction. Due to the sensitivity and covert nature of the project to restart operations at the Natanz site, they refer to it by the codename, “Bahman Project” (name of the 11th month on the Iranian calendar) within the inner circles of the regime.

10. The most important stage in preparing the Natanz site is to construct the centrifuge cascade installation platforms, a very sensitive and complicated process. For every centrifuge cascade–the arrangement of centrifuges connected in parallel and in series is a cascade–a platform should be built and a metal piece has to be installed on top. This process requires a very high level of technical sensitivity. Any mistake in the level of the platform surface will negatively affect the coordination of the centrifuge speed cycle.

11. The welding of the centrifuges on the foundation is also a very sensitive technical task. As of now, some of these platforms are ready for centrifuge installation, and the rest are being built and completed. The building of centrifuge installation platforms is handled by the Kala Electric Company.

The role of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) in starting and accelerating operations at the Natanz site

12. The main bulk of the companies and experts, which participated in the building of the Natanz site, consists of IRGC agents and Defense Ministry personnel who are trusted by the regime.

13. The two primary companies involved in construction of the Natanz site are the Tose’eh Silo Company and the Sazeh Pardaz Company of Iran.

14. The Tose’eh Silo Company is one of the heavy industry engineering firms and is associated with “Construction Jihad.” During the 1980-88 war between Iraq and Iran, Tose’eh Silo Company played a supportive role to the IRGC. During the war, they built a portion of concrete buildings and military installations. In addition, this company participated in building the heavy water facility in Arak city of Iran, and its cooling towers. The Tose’eh Silo Company has been responsible for building nearly 65% of the Natanz site.

15. IRGC agents make up the personnel of the Iran Sazeh Pardaz Company. This company was also one of the designers of the Natanz site. It was responsible for building nearly 35% of its infrastructure. One of the main architects of the Natanz nuclear site is an engineer named Rahmani. He is a member of the IRGC and worked at the engineering division of the IRGC.

16. The Iranian regime has built some 5,000 centrifuge machines for installation at the Natanz site.

17. Military companies associated with the IRGC manufactured most of these centrifuge parts. An engineer within the Defense Ministry by the name of Mohammadi visits the Natanz site continuously in order to asses the progress. Also, an engineer named Rouzinegar from the Defense Industries is one of the centrifuge experts involved in the project. Observers repeatedly saw him at the Natanz site, overseeing the progress of the project.

18. One of the two main companies that have participated in the building of the Natanz site’s foundation and installations is the Tose’eh Silo Company. This company completed a six-month project that started in April 2005. It has accepted the remaining projects until the end of current year and has completed 70% percent of its production projects. In addition, this same company has finished 90% of its equipment and mechanical installation.

19. As of now, the Tose’eh Silo Company is installing air ventilation within the large underground cascade halls of the Natanz site. Part of the air ventilation system has been installed. The company is completing the construction of the remaining foundations. At present, this company is also involved in the second phase of providing water to the Natanz site.

20. A portion of the electrical and mechanical projects remains to be completed. Based on the evaluation of the regime’s technical experts, the Natanz installation construction would be completed by summer 2006. The additional side tasks, such as providing water, gas, electricity, and building fences and pavements are to be completed by March 2007.

21. The current director of the Natanz site is Dr. Seyed Jaber Safdari. Previously, he worked at Jabr Ibn Hayan Multipurpose Laboratories at the Tehran Nuclear Research Centre. In 2005, he received the third level of medal for research from former president, Mohammad Khatami. Currently, Safdari is working at the Kala Electric Company in Tehran, located at Yousefabad, 15th street, number 33. Dr. Seyed Jaber Safdari works under the supervision of Dr. Hossein Faghihian.

22. Dr. Hossen Faghihian is the new director of the office of Nuclear Fuel Production of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran. His appointment to this position has not been officially announced yet. Hossein Faghihian is at the same time, director of the Uranium Conversion Facility in Isfahan (UCF).

23. Currently, an engineer named Nobari is the Director of the Natanz workshop. He supervises and controls all the activities at that site. He reports to Dr. Safdari.

24. The director of Tose’eh Silo Company, who tracks the Natanz project, is an engineer named Amouei. He is based at the Natanz site, but the project is being supervised by an engineer named Davoudi, who is the deputy at Tose’eh Silo Company in Tehran.

Training of the experts for restarting the centrifuge machines at Kala Electric Company

25. Currently and in order to restart operations at the Natanz site, the training of personnel and laboratory research is being performed at Kala Electric Company. The educational programs and mix of experts is directed by Dr. Seyed Jaber Safdari.

The Security Rules and Regulations within the Natanz Site

26. Based on eyewitness accounts, the security regulations within the Natanz site are similar to the regime’s secret military organs. The same as other military security organs, the Natanz site’s intelligence security has designated identification cards for everyone, without which no one is allowed to enter. There are some ID cards that allow entrance to an individual’s own division only. They cannot enter any other area, but their own division. There exists only special ID cards that would allow high-level officials to visit freely all areas.

27. In order to enter the site, visitors must first fill out a form. Next, this form is delivered to the Intelligence Security of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, as well as the Natanz site security division. Both organizations investigate the individual’s background. If the visitor has a clean record, he/she will be allowed to enter. The entire process for a request to grant entrance permit takes two working days.

28. Communication among those working at the Natanz site is controlled by the intelligence security of the site. Communication among the site’s personnel is very limited. Mobile phone communications are controlled as well. The only cell phone calls allowed are limited to informing the family regarding health and well being.

Conclusion:

29. In conclusion, the regime is rapidly executing plans to jumpstart the uranium enrichment process at the Natanz site under the guise of research activity. The Iranian regime is in the process of rapidly building and installing centrifuge installation platforms within the main underground cascade halls of the Natanz site.

30. Given the secret construction of the Natanz site, (revealed for the first time in 2002 by the Iranian resistance), and the significant role of the military elements, it is obvious that the regime’s main goal is to achieve uranium enrichment in order to build nuclear weapons.

31. The underground nature of the construction at Natanz requires an onsite, anytime, anyplace inspection regime. I challenge the IAEA Board of Governors to hold an emergency meeting, to send Iran’s nuclear file to the United Nations Security Council.

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