Iran using third countries and front companies to acquire WMD technology, says intelligence agency of Germany’s Hesse state.
Iran and other rogue states are covertly working to acquire German technology for making nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons, Germany’s prominent intelligence agency confirmed on Friday. Tehran was using front companies to deceive German firms into selling dual-use equipment and sanctioned WMD technology, the intelligence service of Germany’s Hesse state disclosed in its annual report.
Iranian and other front “trading companies mislead the seller that the actual purchase is being made by a state-run company,” report said while explaining the modus operandi. Iran, along with North Korea, Pakistan, and Iranian ally Syria, were using third-party buyers to build up their nuclear and WMD capabilities.
Iranian exchange students and academic institutions are used by their military and intelligence services to obtain technology for its nuclear program. Iranian researchers working in Germany are being instrumentalized by the regime to acquire centrifugal technology used for uranium enrichment, as well as bio-chemical know-how for the purposes of weaponization, said the 387-page report reviewed by the Legal Insurrection.
“Universities in the respective countries are used as recipients in order to hide the end customer” and visiting researches are “coerced” by the Iranian and other spy agencies to “acquired the required [WMD] know-how,” the assessment said.
Here are some excerpts from this year’s annual report released by the Hesse state’s Office for the Protection of the Constitution (LfV) (access the 387-Page document here.):
Countries like Iran, North Korea, Pakistan and Syria in particular have tried to acquire and disseminate weapons in context to [WMD] proliferation by covering up the transit routes. The aim of such espionage methods is to evade monitoring mechanisms by using third countries that are not subject to sanction regulations. (…)
The exchange of students and trained professionals between universities and research facilities is politically and commercially desirable, but its often takes place with the knowledge of the foreign spy services. The concerned states [using] illegal modes of procurement are Iran, North Korea and Pakistan.
The example in this case is the field of electrical engineering in connection with centrifuges for the processing of uranium enrichment. In this regard there are recurring reasons for suspicion that the foreign spy agencies coerce some visiting scientists in order to acquired the required know-how. Another example is the espionage activities in the research exchange of universities in the field of chemical-biological procedures. [Pages 296-298; Translated from German by the author]
The assessment is consistent with the past findings of the wider German intelligence community, some of which I have analyzed previously. “The Hesse state intelligence service’s findings confirm the data collection of additional German state intelligence agencies in 2020 that declared Iran’s regime continues to seek technology and material to build weapons of mass destruction devices,” wrote Benjamin Weinthal, the Jerusalem Post Europe correspondent and research fellow at the DC-based Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), who broke the story in English language press on Friday.
The intel report also disclosed the Iranian regime’s intelligence network in Germany, “The Iranian spy agency, Ministry of Intelligence (VAJA/MOIS), the civilian and foreign espionage service, is active for years in Germany. Besides VAJA/MOI, the foreign spy service, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp (IRGC), is particularly involved in spying on opposition members [in exile] as well as pro-Jewish and pro-Israeli institutions (page 296).”
The disclosure comes as Germany refuses to side with the United States in extending the United Nations’ weapons embargo on Iran. In August, the UN Security Council rejected a U.S. resolution to extend the international arms sanctions on Tehran before it expires in mid-October. China and Russia voted against the proposal, while Germany abstained. Germany, along with Russia, China, and other European powers, is also opposed to the snapback sanctions on Iran proposed by President Donald Trump. Despite the UN vote and diplomatic opposition, the Trump White House is determined to stop the advanced WMD and military technology from getting into the hands of Iran’s Mullah regime.
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