Germans allegedly helping Iran on nukes

Der Spiegel reports searches conducted in offices of 8 suspect companies.

iran nuke plant 298.88 (photo credit: AP)
iran nuke plant 298.88
(photo credit: AP)
Several German companies are under investigation for alleged involvement in Iran's disputed nuclear program, a German magazine reported Saturday. Police searched the premises of eight firms as well as private homes on February 8 as part of the investigation, the Spiegel weekly said in an article released before its publication Monday. Horst Salzmann, a spokesman for federal prosecutors, declined to comment on the report. According to Spiegel, one firm from Cologne was involved in a planned delivery to Iran of equipment to detect radiation contamination on clothes and human skin. Elsewhere on Saturday, French President Jacques Chirac said that the UN's nuclear watchdog would determine the ambitions of Iran's nuclear program, steering clear of the tough line taken by his foreign minister who recently called it a clandestine weapons program. Chirac said it was not his role to say whether Iran was secretly making nuclear weapons. "There are experts who are qualified to speak on the subject, and they are from the International Atomic Energy Agency," Chirac told a news conference in Bangkok. "Let's see what the experts say ... we are not going to enter into what-if in this situation." On Thursday, French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy called Iran's nuclear activity a "clandestine military nuclear program" and accused Tehran of ignoring the international community's demand to suspend all nuclear activity. It was France's most direct attack on Tehran in an escalating international dispute and a departure from Europe's traditional diplomatic caution.