Iran bought illicit German tech that apparently violated nuke deal

'Iran continues to go to extensive lengths to acquire the necessary components for its nuclear and ballistic missile programs'

 The Iranian flag waves in front of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) headquarters, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, in Vienna, Austria May 23, 2021. (photo credit: REUTERS/LEONHARD FOEGER)
The Iranian flag waves in front of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) headquarters, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, in Vienna, Austria May 23, 2021.
(photo credit: REUTERS/LEONHARD FOEGER)

The city-state of Hamburg in northern Germany on Monday published its annual security report, declaring that the Islamic Republic of Iran purchased illegal technology from a German-Iranian man totaling nearly 1 million euros.

A September 2021 analysis of the case involving the German-Iranian Alexander J. by the Washington-based Institute for Science and International Security confirmed the dangerous findings outlined by the Hamburg intelligence agency in its new report.

According to the institute's study, “This case [of Alexander J.] highlights the continued effort of Iran to break trade control laws and sanctions of other nations to procure items for its nuclear and ballistic missile programs. Additionally, Iran continues to actively recruit sympathetic or persuadable individuals to acquire commodities for its sensitive programs. Some of these exports appear to violate the JCPOA [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action].”

The JCPOA is the formal name of the Iran nuclear deal that seeks to provide economic sanctions relief to Tehran in exchange for temporary restrictions on its atomic program. Israel, Arab Sunni states, and many western countries believe Iran’s regime is desperately seeking to build a nuclear weapons device. The theocratic state in Tehran denies it seeks atomic weapons.

The German Federal Prosecutors Office said, Alexander J. illegally exported a multitude of complex laboratory equipment, including four spectrometers. During the period 2018-2020, Alexander J. sold, in two cases, laboratory equipment to EU-sanctioned companies in Iran used to secure technology for the Iranian regime’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

Flag of Germany (credit: FDECOMITE/FLICKR)Flag of Germany (credit: FDECOMITE/FLICKR)

Due to German privacy concerns, the judicial system and the media frequently do not list the last name of the criminal defendant.

A third case took place in January 2020, in which Alexander J. furnished a new Iranian business person with two spectrometers without the required export license.

The Hamburg intelligence agency said that two accused accomplices are being sought for their role in the case of  Alexander J. Iran's regime is mentioned 82 times in the 194-page Hamburg report that focuses on a wide range of security threats to Hamburg's democracy.

German intelligence reports

In June, The Jerusalem Post reported the federal German intelligence agency report said "The German domestic intelligence agencies were able to identify a significant increase in the indications of proliferation-related procurement attempts by Iran for its nuclear program."

"The German domestic intelligence agencies were able to identify a significant increase in the indications of proliferation-related procurement attempts by Iran for its nuclear program."

Federal German intelligence agency report

Alexander J.'s case was listed under the "Proliferation" section in the Hamburg intelligence report. The intelligence report defines proliferation as "The procurement of products for the production of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons of mass destruction and the corresponding carrier technology (rocket technology), including the know-how required for this."

The institute study, jointly authored by Spencer Faragasso and Sarah Burkhard, noted that the case of Alexander J. ”highlights the continued effort of Iran to break trade control laws and sanctions of other nations to procure items for its nuclear and ballistic missile programs. Additionally, Iran continues to actively recruit sympathetic or persuadable individuals to acquire commodities for its sensitive programs. Some of these exports appear to violate the JCPOA. Future discussions with Iran should address the illicit activities being undertaken by Iran’s government in defiance of international and national laws and regulations.”

The institute report added that “This also highlights that Iran continues to lack the domestic capability to produce certain sophisticated measuring equipment and analytical instruments, such as spectrometry systems essential for a uranium enrichment program, and thus, is forced to seek these items elsewhere.”

Veteran Iran watchers have long noted that Germany is a freewheeling market for Iran’s regime to secure technology and material for its illicit nuclear and missile programs. Germany’s lax enforcement sanctions laws against Iran’s regime have played a role, as well as Germany’s regulatory agency greenlighting many trade deals that are considered dual-use (that can be used for military and civilian purposes).

In 2018, the German news website T-Online wrote based on German intelligence findings  that “Germany has been the mullah regime's largest and perhaps most important supermarket worldwide when it comes to the illegal purchase of parts for weapons of mass destruction and their technologies.”

The institute report said “Iran continues to go to extensive lengths to acquire the necessary components for its nuclear and ballistic missile programs and utilizes front companies and other schemes to deceive legitimate businesses and individuals”

The Hamburg intelligence agency said Hezbollah – the main Iranian regime strategic partner – has 1,250 supporters in Germany as of the end of 2021. Germany banned Hezbollah in within the territory of the federal republic in 2020. Critics say that Germany is not enforcing its ban of Hezbollah activities.

According to the Hamburg report, there are 30 cultural and mosque associations in Germany that aligned with Hezbollah.