German charged over attempted Iran deal

Businessman allegedly set up deal to sell material that could have been used for building missiles.

iran nuclear new 224.88 (photo credit: AP [file])
iran nuclear new 224.88
(photo credit: AP [file])
German prosecutors said Friday that they had charged a businessman with violating export laws for allegedly setting up an unsuccessful deal to sell to Iran material that could have been used for building missiles. The federal prosecutors accuse the 63-year-old, identified only as Hans-Josef H., of illegally trying to export high-quality graphite and violating international sanctions by attempting to deliver goods to a blacklisted recipient in Iran. Between June 2005 to June 2007, they said, the man organized a circuitous deal through an unnamed partner in Turkey to deliver the graphite to Iran. The graphite was listed as being of a lower quality. Another delivery, intended for an unnamed Iranian recipient that also was blacklisted, was intercepted by Turkish customs officials. "It was possible to prevent delivery of the material, which could be used in building missiles," the prosecutors said in a statement. The man, from the western German state of Rhineland-Palatinate, was arrested in June 2008 and remains in custody. Prosecutors said the charges - 12 counts of violating export laws - were filed on Jan. 7. No date for a trial was set. Germany is among the countries that have been leading efforts to address concerns over Iran's nuclear program, which the West suspects is aimed at producing a bomb but which Teheran insists is purely peaceful. The UN has imposed sanctions aimed at forcing Iran to suspend its uranium enrichment program.