Lashkar Ab'ad

Also Known As: 


Weapon Program: 

  • Nuclear


Soheilieh T-Junction, Karaj-Hashtgerd Road, Chahardangeh District (40 km west of Tehran)

First visited by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in August 2003; according to IAEA, contains a laser laboratory belonging to the Research and Development Division of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI); Iranian officials told the IAEA that the laboratory had originally focused on laser fusion research and laser spectroscopy but that the focus had changed.

In August 2003, the IAEA observed production and testing of copper vapor lasers of up to 100 watts but did not find activities directly related to laser spectroscopy or enrichment; however, between October 27 and November 1, 2003, Iran acknowledged that at Lashkar Ab'ad a pilot plant for laser enrichment had been set up in 2000; Iranian officials admitted that uranium laser enrichment tests were conducted at Lashkar Ab'ad between October 2002 and January 2003 using 22kg of the 50kg of natural uranium imported in 1993; enrichment experiments were carried out using the Atomic Vapor Laser Isotope (AVLIS) technique, with equipment imported from foreign suppliers.

In October 2003, Iranian officials disclosed a series of contracts for information and equipment related to AVLIS and Molecular Laser Isotope Separation (MLIS) techniques; under a 1991 contract with a foreign supplier, Iran received a laser laboratory capable of enriching uranium up to 3% U-235; the laboratory consisted of two parts a laser spectroscopy lab (LSL) and a comprehensive separation lab (CSL); this equipment was moved from the Tehran Nuclear Research Center (TNRC) to Lashkar Ab'ad in October 2002.

In 1998, Iran contracted with a different foreign supplier to obtain information related to laser enrichment and relevant equipment, including copper vapor lasers (CVLs) of up to 150kW; the contract was not fully completed because some export licences were not obtained. 

Enrichment experiments were carried out using equipment from LSL and CSL, and a large vacuum chamber that was already located at Lashkar Ab'ad; according to Iran, the average level of enrichment achieved in these experiments was between 8-9% and as high as 15%; waste from the experiments, along with the dismantled equipment and uranium metal were moved to Karaj in May 2003.

According to the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), a laboratory which works as a substation for the main site in Natanz in the nuclear enrichment process; according to NCRI, could be used as a substitute for Natanz in case of military strikes or other interruptions in its operations; according to NCRI, has a surface area of 80 hectares; according to NCRI, several centrifuge machines have been installed in a 50-by-30 meter hall for testing; according to NCRI, operates under the cover of the Noor-Afza-Gostar Company, which is one of the largest companies run by the Atomic Energy Organization.

Date Entered: 

January 26, 2004

Date Last Modified: 

September 8, 2004