Iranian President Hassan Rouhani delivers a television address in Tehran, Iran, October 13, 2017. .
(photo credit: HANDOUT/REUTERS)
The intelligence agency of the German state of Baden-Württemberg has revealed in an eye-popping report that Iran’s regime sought during 2017 to obtain technology and scientific knowledge to produce weapons of mass destruction and advance its missile program.
“Iran continued to undertake, as did Pakistan and Syria, efforts to obtain goods and know-how to be used for the development of weapons of mass destruction and to optimize corresponding missile-delivery systems,” said the intelligence document reviewed by The Jerusalem Post.
Since the Iran nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), was reached between the world powers and the Islamic Republic in July 2015, Iran’s regime attempted to covertly secure advanced technology for its nuclear and ballistic-missile programs, according to German intelligence reports examined by the Post.
The Post’s review of additional intelligence reports released in April and May from the German states of Saxony-Anhalt, Bavaria and Lower Saxony detailed in similar terms, as the Baden-Württemberg intelligence report, Iran’s illegal procurement conduct across Germany.
The German counter-espionage officials in Baden-Württemberg wrote the report prior to US President Donald Trump’s May 8 decision to pull the plug on US participation in the JCPOA.
According to the intelligence report, “Iran has continued unchanged the pursuit of its ambitious program to acquire technology for its rocket and missile-delivery program.” Iran’s reported test of the mid-range Chorramschahr rocket in September was cited in the document.
Iran’s regime seeks German software, sophisticated vacuum and control-engineering technologies, measurement devices and advanced electrical equipment for its rocket program, said the report. Germany is Iran’s most important European trade partner and has been the European country most willing to resist US policy to wind down trade with Iran. The US labels Iran’s regime a leading state-sponsor of terrorism.
German exports to Iran rose to 3.5 billion euros in 2017 from 2.6 billion euros in 2016.
Germany conducts dual-use deals with the Islamic Republic, in which merchandise can be used for military and civilian purposes. The Post reported in February that Iranian businessmen purchased industrial material from the Krempel company in Baden-Württemberg that was later found in chemical rockets used to gas Syrian civilians in January and February. A total of 24 Syrians were severely injured in those poison gas attacks.
Germany’s Federal Office for Economic Affairs and Export Control told the Post that the Krempel material was not a dual-use item, and declined to stop trade between Krempel and the Islamic Republic.
The intelligence report in Baden-Württemberg said Tehran’s “current worsening relations with the US, as well as Western governments’ critical views toward Iran’s atomic program, may lead to an increase of Iranian espionage activities.” Iran continues to spy on Iranian dissidents in Germany who oppose the radical clerical leadership in Tehran.
The Baden-Württemberg intelligence agency – the State Office for the Protection of the Constitution – monitors threats to Germany’s democratic, constitutional order and is the rough equivalent of Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency), operating at the state level. The counter-intelligence officials wrote that Iran’s illicit activities in the federal republic are situated in the classic sectors for espionage: politics, the economy, science, military and the armaments industry. “The observation and combating of proliferation efforts of... Iran was also an important task of counter-intelligence in the report year [2017 in Baden-Württemberg],” said the report.
The Baden-Württemberg intelligence officials said they had gathered “intensive intelligence on activities of Iran’s spy agencies.” The 345-page report devotes lengthy sections to Iran’s sponsorship of the Lebanese terrorist organization Hezbollah, and to Tehran’s espionage agencies and state agencies of repression: the Ministry of Intelligence of the Islamic Republic of Iran, and Revolutionary Guards Intelligence. Iran’s main proxy, the Lebanese militia Hezbollah, has 950 members operating in Germany