The German Federal Court of Justice will rule on whether three businessmen can face criminal penalties for selling nuclear technology to Iran, allegedly to be used to develop weapons, prior to the 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers.The Jerusalem Post obtained a 2016 copy of the indictment against the three German businessmen and information from a Berlin criminal court on the new legal developments.The businessmen – Bernd Gehrad L., René L. and Ralf C. – delivered 51 highly specialized valves to Iran between 2010 and 2011. The value of the valves, including the delivery to a sanctioned Iranian company, amounted to €1 million.According to the indictment, “Bernd and René recognized since at least 2009 that behind the buyer [of valves] Hossein T. was an organization that was banned from receiving nuclear-capable material.”Hossein T. appears to be Hossein Tanideh, a key operative for Iran’s atomic program, who has served as the conduit for delivering highly desired German valves to Iran. The US Treasury Department sanctioned Tanideh in 2012 with a freeze of his assets because of his illicit nuclear procurement business.The indictment said Hossein was the final recipient of the delivery of valves from a firm based in the Iranian city of Tabriz.The indictment said the businessmen knew that the valves could be applied to the “development of nuclear weapons.”Germany’s criminal justice system does not disclose the last names of defendants, in order to protect their privacy.
A spokeswoman for the Berlin court told the Post that the legal process against the alleged smugglers was stopped after 15 court sessions.A “Berlin criminal court ruled that the criminal penalties for the indicted businessmen are unconstitutional.The legal question [on the constitutionality of the penalties] was sent to the Federal Court,” she said.The spokeswoman said a ruling from the Federal Court is not expected to be issued in 2017.The specialized valves were intended for Iran’s heavy water reactor in Arak. The Arak facility is a plutonium- based nuclear weapons pathway for the regime.There are currently restrictions on Iran’s production of plutonium at Arak, based on the 2015 agreement with the clerical regime. Critics say that Iranian nuclear scientists can swiftly lift restrictions and manufacture plutonium for a nuclear weapon, because of the flaws in the agreement.Arak required 1,800 industry- level valves of various quality to complete its pipe installation system, among other installations, the indictment noted.The 10-page indictment stated that the company, owned by the 71-year-old Bernd, was located in Halle in the state of Saxony-Anhalt.The company, where Bernd’s 30-year-old son René, an engineer, worked, was notified by US authorities that valves could be used for Iran’s nuclear and missile programs. The prosecutor said René doctored documents to hide the nature of the deal with Iran. Ralf is alleged to have participated as a division head of a company in the price and delivery talks with Bernd and René.The Post previously reported that German intelligence reports from June and July revealed the Iranian regime’s continued pursuit of nuclear weapons and missile technology, in defiance of international sanctions and UN resolutions.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. Iran sought missile carrier technology necessary for its rocket program.”The state of Baden-Württemberg’s intelligence agency said Iran sought “products and scientific know-how for the field of developing weapons of mass destruction as well missile technology.”The 181-page document from Baden-Württemberg cites Iran’s illicit cyberwarfare, espionage, terrorism and weapons of mass destruction procurement activities 49 times.
Trump calls for peace in the region, tougher line against Iran (credit: REUTERS)