Exclusive: Iran sought chemical and biological weapons technology in Germany

Half of Germany’s state governments reported in their 2015 intelligence documents attempts by Tehran to secure nuclear-related goods.

July 9, 2016 19:36
4 minute read.

Employees of the Research Institute for Protective Technologies, Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Protection (WIS) inspect a dummy sample which is contaminated with a substance similar to the chemical weapon Sarin.. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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BERLIN – Iran’s proliferation activities span eight German states and involve a range of activities to advance its chemical and biological warfare capabilities, as well as its nuclear and missile programs.

The vast scale of the Islamic Republic’s network to obtain nuclear and missile technology goes beyond what was disclosed in recent German intelligence reports released on Thursday.

The Jerusalem Post has examined intelligence data and reports from the 16 German states, which included new information on Iranian chemical and biological weapons programs. Half of Germany’s state governments reported in their 2015 intelligence documents attempts by Tehran to secure nuclear-related goods.

The state of Saarland wrote in its 2015 intelligence report released last month that “so-called danger states, for example, Iran and North Korea, make efforts to obtain technology for atomic, biological or chemical weapons.” Iran also seeks “missile delivery systems as well as goods and know-how for proliferation.”

According to the intelligence report from Rhineland-Palatinate state, which was also released in June, Iran was one of the foreign countries that targeted “German companies” in the state whose equipment could be “implemented for atomic, biological and chemical weapons in a war.”

“Special attention was paid in the report’s time period to proliferation relevant activities of Iran, Pakistan and North Korea,” the document stated.

The weapons of mass destruction could be used by Iran to pursue “political goals,” it added.

“These goods could, for example, be applied to the development of state nuclear and missile delivery programs,” the Rhineland-Palatinate intelligence agency wrote. Because of contacts between the Rhineland-Palatinate’s Agency for the Protection of the Constitution (comparable to Shin Bet) and local companies, “illegal exports and the reputational damage” for the businesses could be prevented, the agency wrote. It is unclear how many attempts the Islamic Republic made to illegally secure technology and goods in Rhineland-Palatinate.

The German state of Baden-Württemberg said in its intelligence report in connection with the development of “nuclear, chemical and biological weapons programs” that “Iran is not, according to current knowledge, in a position to produce certain construction material, for example, gas ultracentrifgues. The country must procure essential parts and components from its allies or in the West. In addition to vacuum technology, there is special interest in machine tools, high speed cameras, and climate test control chambers.”

In response to the Federal intelligence report on Tehran’s proliferation activities, Israel’s ambassador, Yakov Hadas-Handelsman, told the Berlin daily Tagesspiegel's investigative journalist Frank Jansen last week: “With a view to the nuclear deal with Iran, we see, once again, that our suspicion was confirmed, which is also shared by the German side: It is not enough to trust the regime in Tehran.”

Meanwhile, on Friday, the deputy head of the Revolutionary Guards, Brig.-Gen. Hossein Salami, said the Islamic Republic has more than 100,000 missiles in Lebanon ready for the “annihilation” of Israel. Salami’s speech, in which he also said Iran has “tens of thousands” of rockets to destroy the “accursed black dot” of Israel, was translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).

According to North Rhine-Westphalia state’s domestic intelligence report for 2015, Iran made 141 attempts to secure technology for proliferation, up from 83 attempts in 2014. Ninety percent of the illegal-procurement attempts were for the development of nuclear-weapon devices and missile launchers, the agency said.

Iran’s illicit proliferation work mainly targeted the highly industrialized western German states where many advanced engineering and technology companies are located. The eight German states where Iranian agents sought nuclear and missile merchandise are Hamburg, Saarland, Baden-Württemberg, Schleswig-Holstein, Bavaria, Lower Saxony, North Rhine-Westphalia and Rhineland-Palatinate.

Germany’s Federal domestic intelligence agency said in its newest report in late June that Iran’s “illegal proliferation-sensitive procurement activities in Germany registered by the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution persisted in 2015 at what is, even by international standards, a quantitatively high level. This holds true in particular with regard to items which can be used in the field of nuclear technology.”

The agency said there was “a further increase in the already considerable procurement efforts in connection with Iran’s ambitious missile technology program, which could, among other things, potentially serve to deliver nuclear weapons. Against this backdrop, it is safe to expect that Iran will continue its intensive procurement activities in Germany using clandestine methods to achieve its objectives.”

The five German states that have not released their 2015 intelligence reports are Saxony-Anhalt, Hesse, Brandenburg, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and Thuringia.

The state of Saxony cited the Islamic Republic’s espionage targeting opposition exile Iranians. According to the report, German authorities arrested an Iranian citizen in October 2015 who was suspected of spying for Tehran.

The reports covering Iran’s pursuit of biological and chemical weapons appear to be the most recent confirmation that its programs are still active.

In response to the German Federal intelligence report, US Sen. Mark Kirk of Illinois said on Thursday: “I strongly opposed the flawed nuclear deal because Iran would keep cheating, as shown by Iran’s numerous ballistic missile tests aimed at threatening Israel, and now by the German intelligence report on Iran’s aggressive efforts to secretly buy nuclear and missile technology.

“It’s long past due for the [US] administration to stop giving Iran more and more economic concessions and to start holding Iran’s terror-sponsoring regime fully accountable for its violations. And it’s time for Congress to vote on my Iran Terrorism & Human Rights Sanctions Act of 2016 and [New Hampshire] Senator [Kelly] Ayotte’s Iran Ballistic Missile Sanctions Act of 2016,” he continued.

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