Iran is still making extensive attempts to acquire materials to further its nuclear program, a year after signing a deal promising its curtailment, Germany’s domestic intelligence agency warned last week.
The German Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV) says it has detected extensive Iranian attempts to acquire illicit materials in Germany, “especially goods that can be used in the field of nuclear technology,” noted the agency in its recently released annual report. “Also in international comparison, the level of attempts remains high,” it added.
The German intelligence body in the regional state of North Rhine-Westphalia registered 141 such attempts last year, as opposed to 83 similar tries in 2014. Ninety of those attempts were described as illegal activities to procure technology that could be used for the development of nuclear weapons and launchers.
The smuggling of the proliferation-sensitive goods is conducted usually by Iranian strawmen and shell companies through China, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates, it also estimated.
But 90 percent of those attempts have been thwarted thanks to the cooperation between companies and the BfV, stressed the agency. Nevertheless, Iran’s covert and intensive procurement activities on German soil are expected to continue, warned the intelligence officials.
“Once again we are seeing the confirmation of our concerns, that are shared also by the German side: It’s not enough to simply trust Tehran,” Israel’s Ambassador in Germany Yakov Hadas-Handelsman said to the daily Tagesspiegel. He expressed confidence that the German authorities will continue to foil such illegal activities using all the necessary measures.
Several German politicians expressed concerns in response to the report. If Iran doesn’t comply with the nuclear agreement, there will be a need to revisit the topic of sanctions, noted Armin Schuster, the ruling party’s faction chief in the Bundestag’s Internal Affairs Committee.
A SPD party spokeswoman also told Tagesspiegel: “The compromise with Iran presupposes that the Iranians cooperate fully and accumulate no nuclear material to develop nuclear weapons. We are not naive and will closely monitor the compliance with the reached agreements. Germany stands with no ifs and buts and at all times at Israel’s side and therefore we will not allow any sort of threat from Iran.”
Polina Garaev is the i24news correspondent in Germany.