Islamic Azad University falls deeper down the SPND rabbit hole
We've got some more bad news about Iran's oldest and most prestigious private university, Islamic Azad University's Central Tehran Branch (دانشگاه آزاد واحد تهران مرکزی). Not only has IAU previously signed an expansive memorandum of cooperation with Iran's shady nuclear research outfit SPND (سپند), as we revealed in two recent posts, we've also learned that IAU hired a notorious SPND member into one of the university's most senior staff positions.
On 3 May 2019, according to an IAU press release, the university recruited Engineer Javad Al-Yasin (جواد آل یاسین) to head IAU's Velayat University Complex (مجتمع دانشگاهی ولایت), a cornerstone facility of the IAU's central Tehran campus.
Here's what they left out in the press release: Javad Al-Yasin is SPND to the gills. In 2009, he was outed by an Iranian dissident group as the head of something called the Research Center for Explosion and Impact or METFAZ (مرکز تحقیقات فناوری انفجار و ضربه), a predecessor organization to SPND.
In 2011, as part of the European Union's wide-ranging sanctions on Iran's nuclear program, Javad Al Yasin was designated for his role in METFAZ. Here's the relevant text:
And as of 2014, Al Yasin was still in that role, according to a leaked list of SPND employees.
Here's SPND's own Javad Al Yasin accepting his new post in IAU in May of this year:
The person on the left in that photo is Dr Seyyed Mahmoud Reza Aghamiri (سید محمودرضا آقامیری), IAU Central Tehran's president, who took over that post from Amad man Mohammad Mehdi Tehranchi (محمدمهدی طهرانچی) when Tehranchi was promoted to head the entire IAU franchise. Like Tehranchi, Aghamiri is a physicist from Shahid Beheshti University, and like Tehranchi, is also an old buddy of SPND physics alumni like Gholamreza Etaati (غلامرضا اطاعتی, national ID 0057568111). Given Aghamiri's connections - and the patronage of Tehranchi - no wonder Javad Al Yasin has ended up in this post at IAU.
IAU's recruitment of Al Yasin into such a senior role - with the full knowledge that Javad Al Yasin has been a key member of Iran's nuclear weapon-related activities - brings IAU ever closer to the cliff of financial sanctions. That would be a real tragedy for IAU's talented student body.