Physics Research Center (PHRC)

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Last Updated: August 23, 2013
Other Name: N/A
Location: Tehran
Subordinate To: Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI)
Size: Unknown
Facility Status: Operational

The Physics Research Center (PHRC) is affiliated with the Iranian military and suspected of involvement in possible nuclear weaponization efforts, including alleged studies about nuclear weapons development, high-power explosives and missile re-entry vehicle research. [1] The former head of the PHRC is Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, an Iranian physicist who also works for the Ministry of Defense and Armed Forces Logistics, and who is believed to be the central figure in Iran's nuclear program. [2] In February 2008 the IAEA provided a detailed account of Fakhrizadeh's undeclared past procurement efforts on behalf of the PHRC, listing a series of equipment with dual-use applications. [3] Iran claimed that Fakhrizadeh purchased the equipment for educational purposes in his capacity as a lecturer at Imam Hussein University. [4]

In 2012, David Albright and Paul Brannan of the Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) published a series of reports based on over 1,600 telexes detailing the procurement activity of the PHRC in the late 1980s and early 1990s, concluding that "the PHRC managed a parallel, secret military nuclear program in the 1990s whose long-term aim was to lay the basis for Iran's development of nuclear weapons." [5]

Sources:
[1] "Briefing Notes from February 2008 IAEA Meeting Regarding Iran's Nuclear Program," Institute for Science and International Security, 11 April 2008, www.isis-online.org.
[2] Erich Follath and Holger Stark, "The Birth of a Bomb - A History of Iran's Nuclear Ambitions Part 5: 'A Very Dangerous Man,'" Der Spiegel, 17 June 2006, www.derspiegel.de.
[3] For example: Vacuum equipment, magnets, a balancing machine and gas cylinders; "Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement in the Islamic Republic of Iran," International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), 22 February 2008, www.iaea.org.
[4] Gareth Porter, "More Doubts over Iran's 'Nuclear Trigger,'" Asia Times Online, 7 January 2010, www.atimes.com.
[5] David Albright and Paul Brannan, "The Physics Research Center Telexes: New ISIS Studies and Findings," Institute for Science and International Security, 16 May 2012, http://isis-online.org.

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