A Key Missing Piece of the Amad Puzzle

The Shahid Boroujerdi Project for Production of Uranium Metal & Nuclear Weapons Components
January 11, 2019

Weapon Program: 

  • Nuclear

Author: 

David Albright, Olli Heinonen, Frank Pabian, and Andrea Stricker

Publication: 

Institute for Science and International Security
  • Documentation from the Nuclear Archives reveals a major, former nuclear weapons site under Project 110 of the Amad Plan that was not previously identified. Project 110 was charged with the development and production of nuclear warheads; 
  • The most likely purpose of this site was as a production-scale facility to produce uranium metal components for nuclear weapons, fulfilling Iran’s long-time quest to acquire and develop uranium metallurgy and components suitable for nuclear weapon manufacturing;
  • Satellite imagery analysis supports these findings;
  • The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Board of Governors should urge the IAEA to verify sites, locations, facilities, and materials involved in these activities, and urge Iran to cooperate fully in these investigations. 

Background

Documentation seized in January 2018 by Israel from the Iranian “Nuclear Archive” revealed key elements of Iran’s past nuclear weaponization program and the Amad program more broadly, aimed at development and production of nuclear weapons. The material extracted from the archives shows that the Amad program had the intention to build five  nuclear warhead systems for missile delivery.  A key step in the manufacturing of a nuclear warhead is the production of the fissile material components of a nuclear warhead. Such a facility would turn high enriched uranium hexafluoride (UF6) to uranium metal, cast it, and machine components to their final forms to be assembled in the warhead itself. Iran had a long quest to acquire uranium metal handling capabilities and some documentation related to such activities was found during the IAEA investigations into Iran’s past nuclear weapons program.  Newly found material in the archives sheds more light on Iran’s goal of achieving a nuclear weapons capability within a short period of time, and provides key insights for today if Iran decided to renege on its obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) not to build nuclear weapons.

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