Soviet Scientist Never Worked on Iran’s Nuclear Program

I Am Not a Nuclear Physicist, Dr. Danilenko Points Out

We already knew from Gareth Porter’s report yesterday that Dr. Vyacheslav Danilenko was not a nuclear weapons scientist, but today the former Soviet scientist went public in the face of media allegations to deny that he was the “father” of Iran’s long-since abandoned nuclear weapons program.

I am not a nuclear physicist,” Dr. Danilenko pointed out. Indeed, cursory searches of academic reports confirm that he’s not, and that his major contribution to science was his role in the discovery of the ultradispersed diamond (UDD), which he and other Soviet scientsts at the Scientific Research Institute of Technical Physics discovered in 1962.

The center of the confusion seems to be that the UDD are also known as “detonation nanodiamonds,” which Dr. Danilenko points out had absolutely nothing to do with nuclear weapons. Instead, UDD are created from closed-chamber explosions of conventional explosives, and are made for medical uses.

Iran’s interest in the doctor, who was working for a Ukrainian company at the time, appears to have been solely based on his nanotechnology expertise, and his role appears to have been exclusively limited to consulting on civilian engineering projects.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.