On October 16, the world was taken aback by the National Council of Resistance of Iran’s new revelations over the Iranian regime’s nuclear program. In its new revelation, the NCRI provided details about two new sites that had been secret so far.

“New information received from sources within the Iranian regime reveals that a new center has been built to continue its work for the weaponization of the Iranian regime’s nuclear program. Organization of Defensive Innovation and Research (Sazman-e Pazhouheshhaye Novin-e Defa’i), known by its Persian acronym SPND, is the institution within the Ministry of Defense pursuing this project.  The Ministry of Defense is heavily controlled by the IRGC,” said the deputy director of the NCRI-U.S. Representative Office Alireza Jafarzadeh.

According to top-secret intelligence obtained by the network inside Iran of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK), SPND has continued its work following the JCPOA. The structure and the personnel of SPND remain intact, and part of the institution has been expanded. Brig. Gen. Mohsen Fakhrizadeh Mahabadi continues to remain the head of this organ.

The major powers hoped to deter the Iranian regime’s nuclear ambitions through the 2015 nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). However, these details reveal the Ministry of Defense and the IRGC have maintained their capabilities to build nuclear weapons despite the JCPOA.

“SPND has built a new site for in the Sorkheh-Hessar region. The exact position of the new site is on Damavand Highway, east of Tehran, two kilometers into the exit road to Sorkheh-Hessar. At the entrance of this road, there is a checkpoint as it is considered to be a military area,” Jafarzadeh added.

New SPND site, located in Sorkh-e Hesar, near Tehran

This center is surrounded by military sites, including the largest complex manufacturing ballistic missiles Khojir site and command headquarters of the Aerospace Organization of Ministry of Defense and the Mechanical Industries of the Aerospace Organization.

The second facility is located in the Abadeh region, Fars province. “Since the mid-1990s, the IRGC has gained the control of a large area north of the town of Abadeh where it has built a site linked to the plan to build nuclear warheads. The plan is called AMAD (currently SPND). To this end, the IRGC controlled vast areas of land, including some coal mines,” Jafarzadeh revealed.

“The site was built under the supervision of Admiral Ali Shamkhani, at the time, the Minister of Defense and Logistics under Mohammad Khatami. The project was handled by companies working with the IRGC’s Khatam-al-Anbiya Garrison’s Engineering Department. An IRGC engineer, Hashemi Tabar, who is in charge of IRGC’s secret projects and has been involved in the construction of IRGC’s tunnels and secret sites, handled this project,” he added.

Aerial image of SPND Marivan Site, located near the town of Abadeh, Fars province

Since 1991, Tehran has ceaselessly attempted to achieve nuclear weapons. However, thanks to the Iranian opposition People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) and NCRI’s damning revelations, its efforts have so far failed.

The NCRI’s revelations prompted the world to focus on Tehran’s suspicious activities, which led to United Nations Security Council resolutions. Economic pressures compelled the regime to sign the JCPOA and suspend parts of its nuclear-bomb making projects.

“The MEK imposed heavy expenditure on us with espionage in our nuclear sites and providing ‘false’ details,” said then-Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) deputy commander Hossein Salami in September 2013.

However, the JCPOA never stopped Tehran’s nuclear activities. Instead, the nuclear deal paved the path for the regime to revive its collapse economy and secretly continue its atomic activities. In January 2019, the head of Iran’s Atomic Agency Ali Akbar Salehi revealed that the regime misled the nuclear watchdog.

“When inspectors told us to pour cement into the [Arak heavy-water facility’s] tubes… we said: ‘Fine. We will pour.’ But we did not tell them that we had other tubes. Otherwise, they would have told us to pour cement into those tubes as well. Now we have the same pipes,” he admitted in an interview with the state-run Channel Four TV.

Notably, at the time, the NCRI President-elect Maryam Rajavi warned about the cleric regime’s treacherous behavior. Rajavi cautioned the world’s leaders that the UNSC resolutions should not be suspended until the regime exposes all clandestine parts of its nuclear programs.

In such circumstances, the world must exert maximum pressure on the Iranian regime to stop its efforts to produce nuclear weapons. The JCPOA’s failed experience teaches us that the international community should have never reduced pressure on the regime and that the appeasement policy merely paves the mullahs’ path to achieving nuclear weapons and destabilizing global peace and security.

Tehran’s Secrecy Leaves No Room for Optimism