Parchin Military Complex

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Last Updated: December 1, 2010
Other Name: Missile Industrial Group; Department 140/31; Parchin Missile Industries
Location: Parchin
Subordinate To: Sanam Industrial Group (Department 140); Defense Industries Organization (DIO)
Size: hundreds of buildings and test sites; potentially additional underground facilities
Facility Status: Operational

The large complex at Parchin is alleged to produce chemical weapons, and to conduct experiments with laser enrichment technology and high explosive testing for nuclear weapons. [1] According to an ISIS analysis, the complex is "dedicated to research, development, and production of ammunition, rockets, and high explosives." [2] Although uncertainties remain about the extent of Parchin's missile-related development and production activities, experts such as Yonah Alexander suspect the complex is involved in the development and production of liquid-fueled ballistic missiles. [3] One structure at the complex reportedly possesses a launch pad designed for testing small rocket motors. [4] Furthermore, a Fajr-3 missile assembly line that uses North Korean missile manufacturing technology is alleged to exist at the site. [5]

In November 2007, a series of explosions at Parchin caused a large fire. [6] The exiled Iranian dissident group The National Council of Resistance of Iran asserted that the explosions started in the missile industries section of the complex, an allegation denied by Iranian authorities. [7]

[1] "Nuclear Sites, Facilities - Parchin," Institute for Science and International Security,
[2] "Nuclear Sites, Facilities - Parchin," Institute for Science and International Security,
[3] Yonah Alexander and Milton M. Hoenig, The New Iranian Leadership (London: Praeger Security International, 2008), p. 157.
[4] Judith S. Yaphe and Charles D. Lutes, "Reassessing the Consequences of a Nuclear-Armed Iran," Institute for National Strategic Studies, National Defense University, Washington, DC, 2005, p. 65.
[5] "Photos of Suspected Secret Iranian Nuclear Site Released," AFP, 16 September 2004.
[6] "Iran: Explosions Spark Fire in Parchin," Stratfor, 15 November 2007,
[7] "Massive Explosion in Parchin Missile Site of the Guard Corps," National Council of Resistance of Iran, 14 November 2007,; and "Explosion at Iran's Parchin Military Base Leaves Several Injured," BBC Monitoring Middle East, 13 November 2007.

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This material is produced independently for NTI by the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of and has not been independently verified by NTI or its directors, officers, employees, or agents. Copyright 2019.