Germany reprimands Iran for spying on pro-Israel groups

A Berlin court sentenced Pakistani citizen Syed-Naqfi in March to four years and three months in prison for working for Iran’s intelligence service to spy “against Germany and another NATO member"

German and Israeli national flags  (photo credit: REUTERS)
German and Israeli national flags
(photo credit: REUTERS)
BERLIN – Germany’s Foreign Ministry rebuked Iran’s ambassador at a December ministry meeting for illicit espionage activities against pro-Israel groups, according to a Monday report on the website of the public TV outlet program Tagesschau.
The report claims that Iran employed a Pakistani agent named Mustufa Haidar Syed-Naqfi to spy on Reinhold Robbe, former head of the German-Israel Friendship Society, and an Israeli-French economics professor in Paris.
A Berlin court sentenced 31-yearold Pakistani citizen Syed-Naqfi in March to four years and three months in prison for working for Iran’s intelligence service to spy “against Germany and another NATO member.”
According to German media outlets, the foreign ministry made it “unmistakably clear to Iran’s ambassador Ali Majedi that legal violations of this form are completely unacceptable and have negative consequences on bi-lateral relations between Germany and Iran.” The reprimand took place on December 22.
The letter added that “under no circumstances will violations of German law be tolerated.”
Tagesschau wrote that the German foreign ministry waited to summon Iran’s ambassador for a reprimand until the verdict was legally in effect.
Robbe said the protest of the German foreign minister was the least that can be done in this case. Robbe told the Berlin court, “I consider the regime there [in Iran] to be one of the worst dictatorships on the planet.”
The Quds Force – a US-classified terrorist entity that is part of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) – paid Haidar Syed-Naqfi at least €2,052 from July 2015 through July 2016. The US government declared the IRGC to be a terrorist entity in October; Germany and the EU have declined to do so.
According to German prosecutors, Haidar Syed-Naqfi was assigned to identify Israeli and Jewish institutions and Israel advocates in Germany, France and other unnamed Western European countries for possible attacks. He monitored a German- Jewish newspaper’s headquarters in Berlin as well as Robbe.
Haidar Syed-Naqfi spied on French-Israeli business Prof. David Rouach, who teaches at the elite Ecole Supérieure de Commerce de Paris and served as head of the French-Israeli Chamber of Commerce.
According to German authorities, his actions were “a clear indication of an assassination attempt.”
Germany is widely considered a stronghold of Iranian espionage, including Iranian regime efforts to obtain missiles and nuclear goods.
Tehran made nearly 40 attempts in 2016 to purchase missile and atomic technology, according to German intelligence reports reviewed by The Jerusalem Post. The NGO Stop the Bomb urged the German government last week to abandon its pro-Iran regime policies and show unconditional solidarity with the protestors calling for an end to the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Between 2007 and 2017, German authorities conducted criminal investigations for 22 cases of alleged Iranian espionage, while Russia’s illicit spy activity led with 27 cases.