Danilenko’s involvement, if any, in this chamber.”
In an interview with Radio Free Europe Friday, Danilenko denied that he has any expertise in nuclear weapons, saying, “I understand absolutely nothing in nuclear physics.” He also denied that he participated in “modeling warheads” at the research institute in Russia where he worked for three decades.
Danilenko further denied doing any work in Iran that did not relate to “dynamic detonation synthesis of diamonds” and said he has “strong doubts” that Iran had a nuclear weapons programme during those years.
Albright and three co-authors published an account of Danilenko’s work in Iran this week seeking to give credibility to the IAEA suggestion that he worked on the containment chamber for a nuclear weapons programme.
The Albright article, published on the website of the Institute for Science and International Security, said that Danilenko approached the Iranian embassy in 1995 offering his expertise on detonation diamonds, and later signed a contract with Syed Abbas Shahmoradi who responded to Danilenko’s query.
Albright identifies Shahmoradi as the “head of Iran’s secret nuclear sector involved in the development of nuclear weapons”, merely because Shahmoradi later headed the Physics Research Center, which the IAEA argues has led Iran’s nuclear weapons research.
But in late 1995, Shahmoradi was at the Sharif University of Technology, which is a leading centre for nanodiamonds in Iran. Albright argues that this is evidence supporting his suspicion that nanodiamonds were a cover for his real work, because the main centre for nanodiamond research is at Malek Ashtar University of Technology rather than at Sharif University.
However, Sharif University had just established an Institute of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology in 2005 that was intended to become the hub for nanotechnology research activities and strategy planning for Iran. So Sharif University and Shahmoradi would have been the logical choice to contract one of the world’s leading specialists on nanodiamonds.
Gareth Porter is an investigative historian and journalist specialising in U.S. national security policy. The paperback edition of his latest book, “Perils of Dominance: Imbalance of Power and the Road to War in Vietnam”, was published in 2006.