Chemists at center of US investigation into Iran’s nuclear program

Chemists with ties to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps have been investigated by the US for their alleged roles in the Iran nuclear program, according to a new congressional report.

The Senate Intelligence Committee said Wednesday that it had been investigating a handful of chemists working with Iranian officials and that the inquiry found that some of them had ties to the Guards.

The committee, chaired by Republican Senator Richard Burr of North Carolina, said it also learned that one of the chemists who worked with the Guards had made a $2 million donation to the National Endowment for Democracy, a pro-democracy organization.

The chemical and nuclear engineering firms that employed the chemist were also investigated for potential ties to Iranian entities and for ties to human rights abuses, the report said.

The report was released as congressional committees and congressional intelligence committees were scrambling to determine the scope of Iran’s alleged nuclear program after President Donald Trump’s administration accused Tehran of trying to develop nuclear weapons.

Earlier this month, a report by the State Department found that Iran had violated several international sanctions against its ballistic missile program, and that its military has also used its nuclear program as a pretext to attack the United States.

The report also said Iran’s military is increasingly using chemical and biological weapons in its war against Israel.

The congressional report comes amid renewed efforts by some lawmakers to determine whether Iran’s weapons program is aimed at developing weapons of mass destruction, as the Obama administration did.

In the report, the committee found that two chemists worked with Iranian nuclear officials to develop chemical weapons and that some chemists had made money off the sales.

One of the two chemist chemists, who is now in his 50s, worked with Ayatollah Khomeini, the late Iranian president who oversaw the country’s nuclear programs, the panel said.

A second chemist, who was also working with the Iranians, was paid $1.7 million to develop the material used in the chemical weapons, the Senate committee said.

Both chemists allegedly worked with Khamenei and a second chemical scientist who was working with him on a $10 million project, it said.

It said one of them was working on chemical agents for use in chemical weapons.

A third chemist allegedly worked for a group known as the Iranian Chemical Industry, the Committee said.

He allegedly had ties with the Revolutionary Guard and had made $1 million to $2.3 million in donations to the organization, the company said.

“There are other chemists at the Center for Chemical Weapons who have also been implicated, and they have been cleared,” Burr said Wednesday, referring to the U.S. intelligence agency.

The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) and the Center on National Security of the National Intelligence Council are both part of the intelligence community.

Both organizations have said they have not been told of any investigation into the two companies, the congressional report said, adding that they have no reason to believe the firms were involved in a criminal conspiracy.

In a statement Wednesday, the Chemical Industry Council said it had nothing to do with the investigation.

“The Council does not have any information or knowledge of any ongoing investigation into any of its employees, suppliers, or agents,” the statement said.

“It has been an unfortunate fact that the U and I have been unable to meet or speak with any of the individuals and entities named in the Senate Committee’s investigation.”

Burr said he wanted to send a message to Iranian officials that they would be held accountable.

“We will not allow Iran to use its nuclear capabilities to threaten America or its allies, and we will not tolerate the use of these facilities for clandestine activities to advance its nuclear weapons program,” he said.