Iran Focus: Paris, Jul. 28 Iran is secretly acquiring a rare form of ultra-strong steel to use as casing for nuclear bombs it is manufacturing, an Iranian opposition figure said Thursday at a press conference in Paris. Mohammad Mohaddessin, who chairs the foreign affairs committee of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, said that Tehran was trying to obtain maraging steel both through smuggling from abroad and by producing it inside the country. Iran Focus
Paris, Jul. 28 Iran is secretly acquiring a rare form of ultra-strong steel to use as casing for nuclear bombs it is manufacturing, an Iranian opposition figure said Thursday at a press conference in Paris.
Mohammad Mohaddessin, who chairs the foreign affairs committee of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, said that Tehran was trying to obtain maraging steel both through smuggling from abroad and by producing it inside the country.
Mohaddessin said that maraging steel, which has twice the strength of stainless steel and is 85 percent harder than pure titanium, was needed to be used as very strong casing to allow an initial explosion inside the bomb to take place in a closed area for maximum power. That, he said, could cause a chain reaction and ultimately trigger a nuclear detonation.
Tehran was also using maraging steel to build casing and containers for missiles as well as external rotors of missile engines. This is required to increase the range of the missiles, Mohaddessin charged.
Mohaddessin was speaking at a seminar in Paris on Irans nuclear program in the aftermath of the recent presidential elections. Paul Leventhal, founding president of the U.S.-based Nuclear Control Institute; Frederic Encel, a French expert on geopolitics, and Alireza Assar, a former adviser of the Revolutionary Guards on nuclear issues, dealt with different aspects of Irans nuclear program and its impact on regional and global peace and security.
Mohaddessin said that Iran was obtaining maraging steel in part from Malaysia, adding that the shipments were first taken to the United Arab Emirates and then rerouted to Iran.
Tehran has also been using a number of front companies to illegally purchase maraging steel and other banned materials in other countries, he said.
These front companies are ostensibly non-Iranian, but their personnel are completely affiliated with the regime.
Mohaddessin said ASCOTEC, a subsidiary of the Organisation for the Development and Rebuilding of Iran’s Mines and Industries, was one such front company.
He said that it was headed in Tehran by Ahmad Alaghmand, and its address was Tehran, Seyed Jamal ad-Din Assad-Abadi Street, Martyr Jahan Ara Street, West 43rd Street, number 36.
ASCOTEC also have a branch in Düsseldorf, Germany, headed by Ahmad Katani. The deputy for commercial section is Yazdan Karimi. A woman, named Molawi coordinates some of the activities, Mohaddessin said.
ASCOTEC also had branches in the UAE and Japan. The latter is headed by Engineer Haghighi, according to the NCRI.
Mohaddessin also revealed that domestic research and production of the powerful material was being conducted at Irans Malek-Ashtar University, affiliated to the Defence Ministry.
The type of steel that is being procured in Malek Ashtar University contains cobalt and has grade of 300-350. Both types are used to build rotor for centrifuges. There have also been tests for higher grade steel.
Tehran’s University of Technology has carried out some research on this type of steel under the supervision of Dr. Nili, Mohaddessin said. He added that in Sahand University in Tabriz, northwest Iran, Dr. Siamak Hossein-Nejad was working on maraging steel.
In Isfahan’s Mobarakeh Steel factory, a series of secret activities have been underway, the senior NCRI official charged, adding that a new assembly line was set up there last year.
The regime has also begun research on Nono Steel, he said, adding, to build maraging and Nono steel, Iranian experts held several meetings last year with Russian experts and several meetings with Chinese experts this year. They have also travelled to Japan to get some expert advice.
The exile coalition was the first to reveal Irans clandestine nuclear program. In August 2002, they revealed two massive nuclear sites at Natanz and Arak, both in central Iran, and since then have made a string of stunning revelations about Tehrans suspected nuclear weapons program.