Iran has conducted several high-explosive tests on detonators designed for its nuclear weapons program, according to a former officer of the regime’s Revolutionary Guards.
The officer witnessed the detonator tests in the fall of 2007 at the regime’s clandestine TABA Complex (also known as the Tehran Complex), located northwest of Tehran, where centrifuge parts are produced. The source, who cannot be named for security purposes and who is now in asylum in Italy, provided information on the TABA facility and other nuclear activities to the U.S. Embassy in an undisclosed country.
The source said the tests were conducted in five rectangular chambers, one large and four smaller, with the big container approximately 40 feet long, 20 feet wide and over 10 feet high with a single door in front and another door inside. The big chamber was used for the tests, one small chamber was set up close to the big one for adjustment and leveling, and officials were in the other small chambers.
The chambers were transported at night by heavy trucks to the test site. The tests were witnessed by Maj. Gen. Hassan Firouzabadi, the chief of staff of the armed forces, Mostafa Najjar, the defense minister at the time, Gen. Mahmoud Mohammadi, the head of security, and others, and were deemed successful.
Following the tests, according to the source, the facility was shut down for several days so traces of the tests could be cleaned up. Several times thereafter, a special team tested the area for any sign of nuclear contamination.
The source added that a year earlier, in the summer of 2006, 12 barrels of highly enriched uranium were transferred to the TABA Complex and hidden in an underground facility that runs parallel below three buildings. The area was then sealed, the source concluded, because of an upcoming inspection by the International Atomic Energy Agency. Testing material was transferred back to its original site 17 days later.
Around this time, a regime directive ordered all nuclear work to be transferred to military sites due to their immunity to inspections, the source said.
The regime — after an inquiry by the IAEA into its Parchin military site, suspected as a location for conducting high-explosive nuclear weapons tests — produced steel chambers so it could conduct additional nuclear detonator tests at various locations.