Daily Israel Report
Show More

OpEds


Update: Lead in German Terror Probe

As tensions mount between Iran and the West, German officials are investigating whether Iran is targeting US bases in Germany
By Gabe Kahn.
First Publish: 12/1/2011, 7:54 PM

Ramstein AFB
Ramstein AFB
USAF Photo

The German newspaper Bild reported Thursday that prosecutors are investigating suspicions Iran might be planning attacks on American targets in the country.

Der Spiegel magazine cited head federal prosecutor Harald Range as saying prosecutors are investigating whether Iran may be planning attacks on US military facilities in the event of an American attack on Iran.  

Range confirmed the Bild report saying authorities were investiating a German businessman suspected of espionage for the purpose of sabotage. The businessman was alleged to have secretly met with Iranian diplomats 

Bild speculated that Iranian agents were preparing to attack US airbases in Germany to disrupt airborne logistics operations if the United States took part in any kind of attack on Iran, which the West suspects of making nuclear weapons.

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle, in Brussels for talks, called the revelations "grave."

"It's necessary that our authorities for this investigate it thoroughly," he said.

Federal police head Joerg Ziercke, however, sought to assure the public there is no immediate danger.

Neither Range nor Ziercke's office would comment further on their inquiries. US Embassy and military officials said they are aware of the German investigation but would not comment on it as a matter of policy.

Germany is home to many US military installations, including the Ramstein and Spangdahlem air bases.

Following an attack by Iranian protesters on the UK embassy in Tehran, German foreign minister Guido Westerwelle pulled the country's ambassador out of Iran. France and the Netherlands also recalled their envoy's to Iran, while Italy called on Tehran's envoy in Rome to explain his country's actions.

British foreign minister William Hague openly accused the Iranian regime of giving "some degree of consent" to Tuesday's protests, when demonstrators stormed the British embassy in Tehran and burned the Union Jack and looted diplomatic documents.

Iran’s relations with the West have also been in a tailspin since the International Atomic Energy Association (IAEA) published a report warning Tehran was actively seeking nuclear weapons. 

Tensions between Tehran, its Arab rivals, and the United States increased in the wake US prosecutors indicting two members of Iran's covert Quds foreign operations cadre for plotting to assassinate the Saudi envoy to Washington