Albright and ISIS Still Believe Danilenko and Parchin Are Radioactive

On March 14 I we posted a piece titled Do Albright and ISIS Buy Parchin Clean-up Story or Don’t They? Excerpt:

The Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) refers to itself as a “non-partisan institution that focuses on stopping the spread of nuclear weapons.” But it’s sometimes demonstrated a tendency to lean toward, if not the right, the alarmist about nuclear proliferation. As late as 2002, its “ubiquitous” president David Albright, oft quoted in print and on television, issued nuclear warnings about Iraq. In January of this year, Albright and the ISIS staff published a report titled Reality Check: Shorter and Shorter Timeframe if Iran Decides to Make Nuclear Weapons.

ISIS also endorsed the unconvincing story that Iran built an explosives chamber to test components of a nuclear weapon and carry out a simulated nuclear explosion (the Danilenko affair, if you will). Albright told Toby Warrick of the Washington Post in November of last year:

“It remains for Danilenko to explain his assistance to Iran. … At the very least, Danilenko should have known exactly why the Iranians were interested in his research and expertise. The IAEA information suggests he has provided more than he has admitted.”

Investigative journalist Gareth Porter, among others, debunked that story.

ISIS staff person Paul Brannan, presumably noticing the post on Google Alerts, responded. He begins:

For a more comprehensive review of information regarding Danilenko, please see:

ISIS Analysis of IAEA Iran Safeguards Report: Part II – Iran’s Work and Foreign Assistance on a Multipoint Initiation System for a Nuclear Weapon

and

Vyacheslav Danilenko – Background, Research, and Proliferation Concerns

Then Brannan writes:

It strains credibility to suggest that Danilenko’s assistance to Iran regarding high explosive implosion system design would have been used by Iran for synthetic diamond production. Danilekno was an expert on the physics of a shockwave resulting from the detonation of high explosives and spent a career in the Soviet Union’s nuclear weapons program. Synthetic diamond production is a commercial application of this expertise. Moreover, Danilenko was hired by Seyed Abbas Shahmoradi, the director of the Physics Research Center, a parallel nuclear program in Iran at the time—separate from the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran and under the military. For more on the Physics Research Center, please see:

The Physics Research Center and Iran’s Parallel Military Nuclear Program

Regarding the building at the Parchin site, ISIS initially searched through satellite imagery looking for increased activity at the site (as was reported to have been present at the Parchin at various times) as a means to locate the building referenced in the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) November 2011 safeguards report on Iran. There is a consistent level of activity at the Parchin site going back many years, however, making the identification of new activity and determining its purpose difficult. ISIS then sought to find the specific building itself. After identifying the building, ISIS published imagery of it the same day.

ISIS is committed to providing the public with accurate and unbiased information about nuclear proliferation worldwide. We will continue to do so, even when that information suggests unsettling acts of proliferation or nuclear weapons research and development. It is crucial that the international community find a solution to the Iranian nuclear issue that avoids military strikes, as ISIS most recently advocated in a March 5, 2012 report made possible by the United States Institute of Peace, found here: http://isis-online.org/uploads/isis-reports/documents/USIP_Template_5March2012-1.pdf