Physics Research Center (PHRC)

Also Known As: 

Physics Research Centre
Physic Research Center

Weapon Program: 

  • Nuclear


Sharif University of Technology, P.O. Box 11365-9161, Tehran





Named by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in 2008 as a military-related institute requiring better understanding of its role in Iran's nuclear program; identified by the British government in February 1998 as having procured goods and/or technology for weapons of mass destruction programs (specifically nuclear), in "addition to doing non-proliferation related business."

Established at Lavisan-Shian in 1989 for the purpose of "preparedness to combat and neutralization of casualties due to nuclear attacks and accidents (nuclear defence) and also support and provide scientific advice and services to the Ministry of Defence"; has been involved in efforts to acquire dual use materials and equipment that could be used in uranium enrichment and conversion activities.

According to Iran, the activities of PHRC at Lavisan were stopped in 1998 and PHRC was changed to the Biological Study Centre, involved in biological R&D and "radioprotection" activities; Iran provided the IAEA with a list of eleven activities conducted at PHRC, but declined to provide a list of the equipment used there.

In January 2006, the IAEA presented to Iran a list of high vacuum equipment purchased by PHRC, and asked to see and take samples from the equipment; according to Iran, PHRC unsuccessfully attempted to acquire electric drive equipment, power supply equipment, and laser equipment, but successfully purchased vacuum equipment for research and development in various departments of a technical university where the head of PHRC worked as a professor; according to the former head of the PHRC, he used PHRC resources for the procurement of equipment for the technical university, and the electric drive, power supply, laser and vacuum equipment were used for research and development in the university; environmental samples taken in January 2006 from the PHRC-procured equipment at the technical university showed a small number of particles of natural and high enriched uranium.

In January and February 2008, the IAEA asked Iran to clarify procurement actions by PHRC which could relate to alleged studies concerning the conversion of uranium dioxide (UO2) into uranium tetrafluoride (UF4) (the green salt project), high explosives testing, and the design of a missile re-entry vehicle; reportedly included in a February 1994 German Federal Ministry of Research and Technology (BMFT) list of entities which, "because of harmless-sounding appellations having to do with research, training, or science, belie the fact that they are wholly or in part devoted to military projects, and are engaged in procurement activities for these projects, with the aim of supplying know-how, equipment, or materials," and identified as being associated with Sharif University of Technology and conducting defense procurement, including nuclear-related materials.

Reportedly headed by Mohammad Javad Larijani as of 2000; formerly headed by Mohsen Fakhrizadeh-Mahabadi.

Mentioned Suspect Entities & Suppliers: 

Date Entered: 

January 26, 2004

Date Last Modified: 

May 12, 2009