Iran seeking nuclear weapons technology, German intel says

Tehran spies on ‘declared enemies’ Israel and Jewish institutions in Federal Republic.

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July 8, 2017 16:32
3 minute read.
Iran missile

A ballistic missile is launched and tested in an undisclosed location, Iran, March 9, 2016. . (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
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Damning German intelligence reports emerged in June and July revealing the Iranian regime’s continued pursuit of nuclear weapons and missile technology in defiance of international sanctions and UN resolutions.

A federal intelligence report also said that the Islamic Republic targets Jewish and Israeli institutions with espionage.

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According to the German state of Hamburg’s intelligence agency: “there is no evidence of a complete about-face in Iran’s atomic polices in 2016” [after the Islamic Republic signed the JCPOA accord with world powers in 2015, designed to curb Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief]. Iran sought missile carrier technology necessary for its rocket program."

Germany’s federal domestic intelligence agency – the rough equivalent of Shin Bet – said in its report on Tuesday: “The State of Israel, its representatives and supporters as well as members of the Jewish religious community are among the declared enemies of Iran. Even the agreement made between Iran and the Western world to settle the nuclear conflict has not changed this attitude. Therefore, Iranian intelligence-related organizations continue to spy on (pro-)Jewish and Israeli targets in Germany.”
Iran fires missiles at militant groups in eastern Syria (credit: REUTERS)

The Hamburg intelligence report cited a case involving federal prosecution of three German citizens for violations of the Federal Republic’s export economic law because the suspects furnished 51 special valves to an Iranian company that can be used for Iran’s sanctioned Arak heavy water reactor. The valves, the report noted, “can be used to develop plutonium for nuclear weapons.” Iran pledged, under the JCPOA deal, to “dismantle the [Arak] facility,” the intelligence officials wrote.

An intelligence report from the southwestern state of Baden-Württemberg stated, “Regardless of the number of national and international sanctions and embargoes, countries like Iran, Pakistan and North Korea are making efforts to optimize corresponding technology.”

According to the Baden-Württemberg report, Iran sought “products and scientific knowhow for the field of developing weapons of mass destruction as well missile technology.” The 181-page document cites Iran’s illicit cyberware, espionage, terrorism and weapons of mass destruction procurement activities 49 times.

A telling example of Iran’s evasion sanctions strategy involved the assistance of a Chinese front company. The intelligence agency wrote that a Chinese import-export company contacted a company in the southern German state that sells “complex metal producing machines.” The Baden-Württemberg report outlined that the technology would aid Iran’s development of ballistic missiles.

Germany’s Federal Office for Economic Affairs and Export Control issued an end-use receipt for the Chinese purchase. Intelligence officials notified the manufacturer that the merchandise was slated to be illegally diverted to Iran. “This case shows that so-called indirect-deliveries across third countries is still Iran’s procurement strategy,” wrote the intelligence officials. Sophisticated engineering and technological companies are situated in Baden-Württemberg and it has long been a target for illicit Iranian procurement efforts.

A third state intelligence report from June said that in the 2016, “German companies located in Rhineland-Palatinate were contacted for illegal procurement attempts by [Pakistan, North Korea and Iran]. The procurement attempts involved goods that were subject to authorization and approval on account of legal export restrictions and UN embargoes. These goods, for example, could be used for a state’s nuclear and missile programs.”

Germany’s national intelligence agency (the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution or BfV) did not include Iran’s activities in Baden-Württemberg, Rhineland-Palatinate and Hamburg in its report.

It is unclear why Germany’s federal intelligence document omitted significant data and information on Iran’s continued drive to obtain nuclear weapons technology in the states. German remains Iran’s most important trade partner.

The 339-page federal document wrote that Iran has not stopped its missile and rocket programs: “The amount of evidence found for attempts to acquire proliferation-sensitive material for missile technology/ the missile program, which is not covered by the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, remained about the same.”

The report said, however, that there was “significantly less evidence of Iranian attempts to acquire proliferation-sensitive material for its nuclear program. As far as the BfV was able to verify such evidence, it did not reveal any violation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.”

According to the federal document, “The Russian Federation, the People’s Republic of China and the Islamic Republic of Iran are the major players behind espionage activities that are directed against Germany. Cyberattacks can now also be attributed to presumed government agencies in Iran.”

The second anniversary of the JCPOA will be marked on Friday.

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