The SPND B-Team: Hossein Zaki-Dizaji
It's more or less holiday time at Redline HQ at the moment. Scientists from Iran's former nuclear weapons program (known as AMAD) are cooling their heels under the terms of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the nuclear deal that prohibits them from doing any nuclear weapon-related experiments. So SPND (سازمان پژوهش و نوآوری دفاعی ), the organisation where these frustrated folks are now housed, is similarly quiet.
In the meantime, we've been going through the Redline archives to survey some of the lesser stars in the constellation of Iranian scientists who have a particular penchant for nuclear weapons.
A very good place to start looking is the Physics Department at Imam Hossein University (دانشگاه امام حسین), the IRGC's very own research college. IHU Physics is a hotbed of academics who are probably none too pleased with the terms of the JCPOA. And they'd much rather be building nuclear warheads than teaching snotty undergraduates.
One of the key physicists at Imam Hossein is an individual named Hossein Zaki Dizaji (حسین ذکی دیزجی). Redline has a sneaking suspicion that Dr Dizaji is either an old AMAD hand, an SPND alumnus, or both. At the very least, we're sure that he is closely tied into the AMAD universe.
Here's the key connection. Avid Redline readers will remember Iranian scientist Fereidoun Abbasi-Davani (فریدون عباسی دوانی). He survived an assassination attempt in 2010 and was promptly named head of the Atomic Energy Organisation of Iran. This career step was of some concern, given he had been designated by the United Nations for being an associate of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh (محسن فخری زاده) and named as a senior military official involved in nuclear weapon-related research.
It turns out that Abbasi-Davani and Zaki-Dizaji share more than a love of the double-barrelled surname. They've been on a recent publication bender that suggests a very close partnership indeed. Here's three of their most recent joint papers:
- "Dosimetry Methods of Fast Neutron Using the Semiconductor Diodes" (2014)
- "Detection and dosimetry studies on the response of silicon diodes to an 241Am-Be source" (2014)
- "Gamma and Neutron Dosimetry in Mixed Radiation Fields Using a Single Silicon Diode" (2014)
But there are always exciting conferences in Iran to attend! Take the Sixth Conference on Modern Warfare Defense, held in 2015 (ششمین همایش سراسری پدافند جنگ نوین). Surprisingly, it wasn't a bunch of network gamers sharing tips on Call of Duty - nope, it was about preparation for military defence in a CBRN environment. Zaki-Dizaji was there and gave a stunning paper on - wait for it - dosimetry
Feel the excitement.