Inside Iran’s Secret Project to Produce Aluminium Powder for Missiles

June 24, 2020


Bozorgmehr Sharafedin and Pratima Desai



Related Country: 

  • China

According to information from a former Iranian official, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) established a facility near the city of Jarjam in 2011 to produce aluminum powder for Iran's missile program. Iran Alumina Company (IAC), a subsidiary of the state-owned enterprise Iranian Mines and Mining Industries Development (IMIDRO), runs the facility. Aluminum powder is a key ingredient in solid fuel missile propellant. In a letter to Iran's Supreme Leader from an IRGC commander, the facility was described as key to "improving the country's self-sufficiency in production of solid fuel for missiles." IAC may have acquired equipment for the facility from China Nonferrous Metal Industry’s Foreign Engineering and Construction Co, Ltd (NFC), whose assistant president Li Xiaofeng allegedly coordinated the supply from German and Japanese firms. According to the former Iranian official, who is now living in France, the facility was still operating in 2018 when he left Iran. U.S. sanctions target Iran's aluminum sector, as well as the IRGC and third parties that do business with the Guards.