AMAD Man of the Month: SPND's Ahmad Haghighat Talab (احمد حقیقت طلب)
Today we're here to celebrate the achievements of one of the veterans of Iran's military nuclear complex. The person's name is Ahmad Haghighat Talab (احمد حقیقت طلب).
As we've learned from a friendly rival in the SPND stan sphere, Haghighat Talab was heavily involved in the Amad nuclear weapons program (طرح آماد), which ran from the late 1990s until 2003, when Iran's Supreme Leader - spooked by US troops in Iraq - pulled the plug on the program. As shown by some great images posted by the site, Haghighat Talab was involved in making preliminary preparations to test a nuclear device in an Iranian desert. (Thankfully for us, at that time there was no nuclear device ready to test - and that's still the case, thank goodness, thanks to ongoing global scrutiny of Iran's nuclear program.)
We think Haghighgat Talab deserves a brighter light shone on the work he's done since Amad. From the information that we've uncovered, it's clear that he has never let his passion for nuclear technology wane - and, that he's also held a series of high-ranking positions in Iran's defense research institutions. Including SPND! We'll get to that in a minute.
It's clear from various research papers that Haghighat Talab spent a fair amount of time around 2011 at Shahid Beheshti University's faculty of nuclear engineering (دانشکده مهندسي هسته اي - دانشگاه شهید بهشتی), probably picking himself up a PhD in the process under the tutelage of SBU academics Ahmadreza Zolfaghari (احمدرضا ذوالفقاری) and Abdolhamid Minouchehr (عبدالحمید مینوچهر). We especially like this research paper of his on centrifuge cascade performance, which is rare evidence of a military researcher conducting what Iran swears is strictly civilian work.
For the better part of the last decade, though, Haghighat Talab has been employed as the point man for engagement with universities at the Defense Industries Training and Research Institute (also known as DITRI or TRIDI or MAVT, after its Persian name موسسه آموزشی و تحقیقاتی صنایع دفاعی). DITRI is the think-tank of the Iranian Defense Industries Organization (سازمان صنایع دفاع), and it has a longstanding program of recruiting university students for research projects. Have a poke around the internet and you can find several faxes (lol) sent by Haghighat Talab under the DITRI letterhead, soliciting research help. Like this one from November 18 2012:
But he's a DITRI man no longer. We've dug up documents that prove that Haghighat Talab has recently jumped ship to DITRI's great institutional rival, SPND (سازمان سپند), where he's fulfilling much the same role of penning faxes to Iranian universities in order to recruit young talent. Here's one such fax from October 2019:
You'll note that Haghighat Talab no longer has the coveted department head status that he did at DITRI - in his new role at SPND, he's now only a deputy head of the technology research department. Sad!
We're not sure how this article will help his career trajectory. And we also won't comment on the wisdom of putting one's name on official documents with an SPND letterhead, given the propensity of SPND employees to end up on sanctions lists. But for all his flaws, you have to respect Haghighat Talab's commitment. And that's why he's our Amad Man of the Month!