Showing posts from February, 2022

SPND goes bio: the Stem Cell Technology Research Center

Redline Headquarters The Internet Dear Western biotechnology researcher, We're pleased to meet you! You're probably visiting this web page because you've googled your prospective Iranian research or business partner, the Stem Cell Technology Research Center (شرکت فناوری بن یاخته), and you want to know a bit more about who you're dealing with. Great move! That's called "due diligence". Unfortunately, we have some bad news for you. The Stem Cell Technology Research Center (STRC) is actually a front for Iran's military and IRGC. It's owned and run by officials from Iran's military industries, and is probably involved in covert procurement of equipment and expertise for Iran's defence sector. If we had to place a bet, we'd say that the STRC is part of the SPND (سپند) organization - a military-run hub for remnants and holdouts from Iran's pre-2003 nuclear weapons program, and also a home to scientists who like playing on the boundaries o

Mohammad Eslami, head of the AEOI - who is he really?

Iran's president Ebrahim Raisi spent much of his first few months in office since August last year sweeping out the remnants of any former government ministers who might have a whiff of reformism or internationalism about them. One victim of this clean-out has been the urbane Ali Akbar Salehi (علی اکبر صالحی), who headed the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI or سازمان انرژی اتمی ایران) from 2009 to 2010 and then again from 2013, and was for all intents and purposes the public face of Iran's nuclear program. Salehi made a famous double-act with US Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz, teaming up in the JCPOA talks to wrestle together a highly complex and technical negotiated agreement. With Raisi at the helm, negotiations with the enemy are no longer in vogue, and Salehi is out. And Salehi's replacement is someone who has what we in the Iran nuclear fanboy/fangirl community would call "form" - that distinctive characteristic of having been so deeply involved in