Iran and SPND and MODAFL

The SPND (or Defense Research and Innovation Organization) has been in the news ever since the death of the organization’s founder, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh. According to State’s most recent compliance report, the SPND is “an organization subordinate to the Iranian Ministry of Defense and Armed Forces Logistics [MODAFL] that conducts military research and development – on weaponization-relevant dual-use technical activities.” The EU described the SPND somewhat similarly in 2012 and also identified the organization as “part of” MODAFL. The MODAFL association seems relevant to me because President Rouhani recently opined that “the Ministry of Defence and Armed Forces’ Logistics will fill this scientist’s place with his colleagues and students with increasing self-sacrifice and efforts.”

Here’s a fuller description from State a few years back:

The Organization of Defensive Innovation and Research (SPND) is a Tehran-based entity that is primarily responsible for research in the field of nuclear weapons development. SPND was established in February 2011 by the UN-sanctioned individual Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, who for many years has managed activities useful in the development of a nuclear explosive device. Fakhrizadeh led such efforts in the late 1990s or early 2000s, under the auspices of the “AMAD Plan, the MODAFL subsidiary Section for Advanced Development Applications and Technologies (SADAT) and Malek Ashtar University of Technology (MUT). In February 2011, Fakhrizadeh left MUT to establish SPND. Fakhrizadeh was designated in UNSCR 1747 (2007) and by the United States in July 2008 for his involvement in Iran’s proscribed WMD activities. SPND took over some of the activities related to Iran’s undeclared nuclear program that had previously been carried out by Iran’s Physics Research Center, the AMAD Plan, MUT, and SADAT.

Iran has issued a couple of recent statements concerning the SPND’s activities. Fro example, this letter to the UN described Fakhrizadeh’s

outstanding role in the development of the first indigenous coronavirus disease (COVID-19) test kit, which is a great contribution to our national efforts in curbing the COVID-19 pandemic…He was also supervising the development of a COVID-19 vaccine.

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