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Iran Building Nuclear Capable Missiles in Underground Secret Tunnels- November 21st, 2005

Statement by Alireza Jafarzadeh President, Strategic Policy Consulting, Inc.

National Press Club, Washington, DC

Monday, 21 November 2005

Good Day Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is with great pleasure that I thank the Iran Policy Committee and professor Raymond Tanter for inviting me to this panel on Iran’s nuclear weapons. I would like to also thank Mr. Paul Leventhal, the Founding President of the Nuclear Control Institute for his input to this event.

On September 16, 2005, the Iran Policy Committee and the Nuclear Control Institute held a press conference in which I revealed the regimes plans regarding the relationship between Iran& s nuclear weapons program and tunneling operations.

Today, I am revealing information that goes well beyond the September presentation:

The September focus was mainly on one area called Parchin; today, I have determined from my sources inside Iran, who have been proven accurate in the past, that the area in question not only includes Parchin but goes well beyond that location.

The September presentation emphasized one particular tunnel critical to hiding nuclear facilities, today I focus on a series of interrelated tunnels and other underground locations that contain equipment for nuclear-warhead capable missiles under a military unit that deals with both nuclear weapons and missile development.

I am also revealing details on the involvement of North Korea in hiding Iranian missile construction.

Now let us turn to the issue of what was a secret and strategic location where the Tehran regime is building nuclear warhead capable missiles.

1. The Iranian regime has put in action a covert strategic plan to build missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads. On the orders of Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, the Ministry of Defense has taken over a 6 by 20 km area of Tehran’s eastern and southeastern regions. This area is enclosed by the Ghazal park to the North (south of the Tehran-Davamand high way and Khak Sefid mountain), Tehran-Parchin expressway to the East (the continuation of Babai expressway), Parchin and Hessar Amir to the South, and Hamsin and Towchal village to the West. This has brought both the missile production, nuclear warhead, and underground tunnels all in the same large area.

2. This project began following the end of the Iran-Iraq war in 1989. Tremendous work and money has been invested in this site. The plan involves dozens of immense tunnels and facilities built under the mountain. Such underground facilities are extremely crucial now because Iran is now working on a program to produce a nuclear capable missile.

3. North Korean experts have cooperated with the regime in the design and building of this complex. Many blueprints of the site have been prepared by North Korean experts, bringing Pyongyangs contribution to Iranian missile program to a new height.

4. The Hemmat Industries Group Factory, the most important branch of the regimes Aerospace Industries Group (missile industry) is located in the area. Hemmat Industries is currently building Shahab-1, Shahab-2, Shahab-3 and Ghadar missiles. The production lines of Shahab and Ghadar missiles are now near the underground tunnels providing them with a much greater security.

5. Shahab 3 and Ghadar missiles have the capability to carry nuclear warheads. At present, Shahab 3 missile is being manufactured in large numbers, and is already a part of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards arsenal. Ghadar missile is still in the production stage, and is 70 percent complete. Shahab 3 has a range of 1,300 to 1900 km and Ghadar has a range of 2,500 to 3,000 km.

6. Hemmat Industries Group is the most important and advanced group in the regime’s missile program. The command headquarters and a limited part of its plants are located in the Hakimieh district, with the following address: Tehran-no Street toward Abe-Ali-Azmayesh T-junction, Lashgarak highway. The Aerospace complex and Mechanical Industries are located to the east of the highway. Hemmat Industries is located to the northern most section of the complex and adjacent to Ghazal Park.

7. The main plants where ballistic missiles are built are located in Khojir complex. All work is being carried out in tunnels under the mountains. Even some of the administrative buildings are built underground.

8. Hemmat Industries Group has the following sections that have been given code numbers to keep their work secret:
a. Movahed Industries, codenamed 7,500, builds the body of the missile and does the final assembly.
b. Karimi Industries, codenamed 2500, builds the warhead.
c. Varamini Industries, codenamed 6,000, builds the missile guidance and control systems.
d. Cheraghi Industries, codenamed 3,000, builds the missile.
e. Rastegar Industries, codenamed 4,500, builds missile engines.
f. Nouri Industries, codenamed 8,500.g. Kolhar Industries, codenamed 1,500, builds the launcher systems.

9. The Karimi Industries is the most secretive part of the program, which deals with the nuclear warhead. It is commanded by Gholizadeh and only those with very high security clearance can even communicate with them. Communications with this section are in codes.

10. The most important section of the missile is in Movahed Industries, where the body is built and final assembly is carried out. This group is located in the largest tunnel at Khojir complex. The tunnel is about 1,000 meters long, 12 meters wide. Inside the tunnel there are six fork-like, 500-meter extensions. The tunnel is built deep inside the central area of Khojir and Bar Jamali Mountain.

11. Part of the central tunnel was built from 1989 until 1992 and other parts were added in 1993 to 1997 by the Defense Industries engineering groups.

12. Based on eyewitness accounts, the tunnel resembles an underground township and is considered top-secret. Only trusted personnel with special high security clearance from the Aerospace Industries intelligence department are allowed to enter the site.

13. There are many advanced workshops and facilities inside the tunnel where work is being done on the final assembly of the missiles. Additionally, a section has been set aside as a warehouse, where the missiles are kept.

14. The tunnel has advanced equipment, including:

a. Fire warning system
b. Fire fighting system
c. Cooling systems with chillers
d. Heating systems with steam boilers
e. Different electrical systems, with special water-resistant shields and special plugs
f. Water pumps
g. Anti-explosion systems
h. Air-conditioning and ventilation system

15. In addition to this tunnel, dozens of other tunnels are built for other industries and for warehouses where missiles are kept, varying in length from 150 meters to 300 meters. All of them are well-equipped.

16. Presently, the new official in charge of Hemmat Industries Group, Nasser Maleki is headquartered at that site. The previous director was Revolutionary Guards Brigadier General Danesh Ashtiani, who is now an advisor to the Aerospace Organization.

17. In addition to the command headquarters, a part of Rastegar Industries (code 4,500) which manufactures missile engines is located there. Parts of the launching pads for the missiles are also built there. Other sections that build the missile have been transferred to the Khojir complex.

18. Some of the tunnels are located in Khak Sefid Mountain north of Khojir complex. Khak Sefid Mountain is 300 meters higher than the surrounding areas. Different facilities and tunnels have been built in different sections of Hemmat Industries and Bakeri Industries in the area between Khak Sefid Mountain and Bar Jamali Mountain. Many of the facilities and tunnels are visible in satellite photos.

19. In addition to Hemmat Industries, the Bakeri Industries Group, a subsidiary of Aerospace Organization is located in Khojir region. This group works on surface-to-surface missiles, including Fateh 110, Naze’at and Zolqadr missiles. Bakeri has a total of five facilities in that region.

20. The entrance to Khojir region is through a military road, passed Azmayeh T-junction, just before Gazal Park. There is a military check point at the entrance to the highway. The other entrance is through Tehran-Parchin expressway, which is exclusively for military use. In addition to the extension of Babai expressway, the regime has built many other major roads in the area. Given the revelation about this strategically important nuclear-capable missile project, it is quite clear that the regime has built all these facilities under mountains to manufacture long-range, nuclear warhead-capable missiles. After the nuclear site in Shian-Lavizan was exposed in March 2003, the regime transferred most of its nuclear research work to secret tunnels similar to the ones in this report.

Iran’s strategy since the major revelations by Iran’s main opposition coalition, the National Council of Resistance of Iran in August of 2002, has changed, and it is now three pronged:a. Move the program underground, for safety and leak protectionb. Increasingly bring the program under the control of the Iranian Revolutionary Guardsc. Speed up the process to give the Iranian regime its first nuclear bomb; ready for confrontations if and when necessary Iran has refused to allow the United Nations inspectors to the military sites, where much of the nuclear weapons work isnow conducted. Only limited visits to a small portion of Parchin has been allowed.A recent report by the IAEA suggests that Iran has claimed that the document that Iran provided the agency wasprovided by A.Q. Khan in 1987 unsolicited. The information that I have obtained from my sources in Iran proves to thecontrary; that A.Q. Khan traveled to Iran in 1987, and met with three top commanders of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards who were working at the time on “nuclear research.” The IRGC delegation was headed by Brigadier General Mohammad Eslami. Finally, I would like to emphasize that given the fact that after the presidency of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iran has showna heightened resolve to develop its nuclear weapons program. In light of Iran’s nuclear weapons program, itsadvanced missile technology and the progress it has made in nuclear capable missile is most threatening. The two year negotiation between the EU3 and Iran has backfired, and has shifted Iran’s status from a defensive to an offensive position. The policy of indecisiveness pursued by the EU3 has further emboldened the Iranian regime. Blacklisting Iran& s main opposition, who provided much of the information on Iran’s nuclear weapons program, has proven counterproductive. Referring Iran’s file to the UN Security Council should be the first step. To eliminate Iran’s nuclear threat, the United States should speed up the regime change process by empowering the Iranian opposition. Removing any and all restrictions on the Iranian opposition, who has already called for unseating the Ayatollahs in Iran, will effectively contribute to the establishment of a democratic, secular republic in Iran.