Defense Industries Organization (DIO)

Also Known As: 

Sazemane Sanaye Defa
DIO IR (Defense Industries of Iran)

Weapon Program: 

  • Nuclear
  • Missile
  • Chemical
  • Biological
  • Military


P.O. Box 13185-1543, Department 140-31, 140-41, Tehran, Iran



A subsidiary of Iran's Ministry of Defense Armed Forces Logistics (MODAFL) representing a conglomerate of over 300 companies; reportedly responsible for managing Iran’s military industries.

Has materially contributed to the development of Iran's nuclear and missile programs, according to the U.S. Department of State; some subordinates have been "involved in Iran's centrifuge program making components," and in Iran's missile program, according to the U.N. Security Council; has played a key role in developing Iran’s centrifuge-manufacturing capabilities; has manufactured composite rotors for the P-2 (IR-2) centrifuge; several workshops involved in the production of centrifuge components were visited by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in 2004; reportedly owns the Parchin military complex, at which research and testing related to nuclear weapons allegedly occurred.

Produces defense equipment, including main battle tanks, armored personnel vehicles (APVs), guns and gun-howitzers, multi-barrel rocket launchers, anti-tank missile weapon systems, small arms, ammunition, short-, medium- and longer-range missiles and rockets, chemical materials, nuclear, biological, and chemical (NBC) protection equipment, and fast patrol boats; develops mines and explosives, including ammonium nitrate (ANFO), powder explosives, dynamite, and fuses.

In 2019, reportedly built a new set of Karrar tanks as well as an automatic launcher for 81 mm mortars; in 2018, reportedly manufactured the Toufan mine-resistant armored personnel carrier. 

Procured weapons material through its subsidiaries from Chinese national Li Fang Wei (a.k.a. Karl Lee) and China-based LIMMT Metallurgy and Minerals Company Ltd. (LIMMT); materials shipped to the organization from LIMMT allegedly include: specialized aluminum alloy used in long range missile production, graphite cylinders used for electrical discharge machines, tungsten-copper plates, tungsten-copper alloy hollow cylinders, tungsten metal powder, maraging steel rods, furnace electrodes, and high carbon ferro-manganese; allegedly engaged in negotiations to have LIMMT supply gyroscopes, accelerometers, and tantalum; reported, in a bill introduced in the U.S. Senate, to have received, in August 1996, gyroscopes, accelerometers, and test equipment for the construction and testing of ballistic missile guidance systems from China Precision Engineering Institute for Aircraft Industry (CPEI); reportedly received maraging steel from Ali Asghar Manzarpour; has allegedly shipped products through Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL); in 2014, CNC Components Development Ltd. offered to supply parts and components for weapons production.

Has coordinated the sale and delivery of explosives and other material to the Scientific Studies and Research Center (SSRC), a Syrian government agency responsible for developing chemical weapons and ballistic missiles; has had a credit line with SSRC valued at tens of millions of dollars; entered into a contract with the Industrial Establishment of Defense, part of Syria's Ministry of Defense, to provide components for mortars to Syria.

May have purchased a VC3 7018 test chamber, which has missile applications, from Voetsch China, the Chinese subsidiary of Voetsch Industrietechnik, in or before 2009.

Reportedly signed six contracts with Iraq’s government in or before 2014 to supply light and medium arms, mortars and mortar launchers, artillery, and ammunition for tanks.

Bank Melli has provided or attempted to provide financial support; reportedly has conducted financial transactions through its subsidiaries with the European-Iranian Trade Bank AG (EIH Bank); Bank Saderat has handled payments and letters of credit; Bank Tejarat has indirectly provided financial services to DIO subsidiaries.

Uses contractors and subsidiaries to procure and produce weapons for Iran’s armed forces; has received support from Beasat Industrial Co.FHM Electronics Co., and Taghtiran Kashan Co.; SAD Import-Export Company, acting on behalf of the DIO, has shipped aluminum and other items to Syria's Mechanical Construction Factory, which is a front company for the SSRC; according to a former employee of the Iranian Foreign Ministry, Shahid Meisami Group has produced chemical weapons for the DIO.

Has had an Electric and Electronic Instrument Division involved in procurement efforts; reportedly has additional divisions, including Hadid plant and Shahid Kuladooz Industrial Complex.

Sister organizations include:

Subsidiaries include: 

Other subsidiaries reportedly include Kowsar Factory.

Subordinates include:

Affiliates include: 

According to the National Council of Resistance of Iran, other affiliates include Pars Garma Company.

In 1979, began reverse engineering and adapting foreign hardware to its own specifications before mass producing the finished product.

Reportedly has over 35,000 employees.

Company officials have included IRGC Brigadier-General Seyyed Mahdi Farahi (managing director), Vafa Ghafourian (managing director), Mr. Fallahpour (managing director), Mojtaba Haeri, Morteza Farasatpour (deputy director for commerce), Ali Haidari (public relations officer), Vahid Karami (managing director), Morteza Makhmalbaf (manager), and IRGC Brigadier-General Mostafa Mohammad Najjar.

Established in 1924.


Designated by the U.N. Security Council on December 23, 2006, pursuant to resolution 1737 (2006), as an entity involved in Iran’s proliferation sensitive nuclear activities or development of nuclear weapon delivery systems; subsequently designated by U.N. Security Council resolution 2231 (2015); removed from the U.N. list on October 18, 2023, following the expiration of targeted sanctions contained in resolution 2231.

Listed by the European Union on April 20, 2007 as an entity linked to Iran's proliferation-sensitive nuclear activities or Iran's development of nuclear weapon delivery systems; with some exceptions, EU member states must freeze assets owned or controlled by the entity, directly or indirectly, and prevent assets from being made available to it.

Designated by the U.S. Department of State on March 30, 2007, pursuant to Executive Order 13382, which targets proliferators of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems; added on March 30, 2007, to the Specially Designated Nationals (SDN) list maintained by the U.S. Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), freezing its assets under U.S. jurisdiction and prohibiting transactions with U.S. parties, pursuant to Executive Order 13382; also designated by the U.S. Department of State on January 15, 2021, pursuant to Executive Order 13949, which targets transfers to and from Iran of conventional arms and related materiel; also subject to the Iranian Financial Sanctions Regulations; foreign parties facilitating transactions for the person or otherwise assisting the person are subject to U.S. sanctions.

Sanctioned (with all successors, sub-units, and subsidiaries) by the U.S. Department of State on May 14, 2019, under the Iran, North Korea, and Syria Nonproliferation Act; sanctions apply for two years and ban the U.S. government from procuring from, contracting with, providing assistance to, or issuing export licenses involving controlled items for the entity; previous INKSNA designations: April 30, 2018, December 20, 2011, May 23, 2011, July 14, 2010, April 17, 2007, and December 28, 2006.

Sanctioned (with all successors and sub-units) by the U.S. Department of State on November 21, 2000, for missile technology proliferation activities; sanctions apply for two years and prohibit the issuance of export licenses and U.S. government contracts to the entity and the importation into the United States of products produced by the entity.

Sanctioned by the governments of Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom, restricting business and financial transactions with the entity and/or freezing its assets in those countries.

Listed by the Japanese government in 2022 as an entity of concern for proliferation relating to missiles and biological, chemical, and nuclear weapons.

Listed by the British government in 2015 as an entity of potential concern for WMD-related procurement, but removed in 2017 after the U.K. withdrew its Iran list.

Mentioned Suspect Entities & Suppliers: 

Date Entered: 

January 26, 2004

Date Last Modified: 

December 20, 2023