Germany: Iran still seeking nuclear weapons

Germany's domestic intelligence agency warns Iran is still making extensive attempts to acquire materials to further its nuclear program.

Ben Ariel,

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Iran is still making extensive attempts to acquire materials to further its nuclear program, even after signing a deal promising its curtailment, Germany's domestic intelligence agency has warned, according to i24news.

The German Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV) said in an annual report it has detected extensive Iranian attempts to acquire illicit materials in Germany, “especially goods that can be used in the field of nuclear technology.”

“Also in international comparison, the level of attempts remains high,” it added, according to i24news.

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. 90 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, the report 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, it warned.

The findings mark the second time in the last few weeks that evidence has surfaced of Iran's nuclear work.

Late in June, it was reported that the Obama administration had concluded that uranium particles discovered last year at the secretive Iranian military base in Parchin likely were tied to the country’s past, covert nuclear weapons program.

The findings contradict Tehran’s longstanding denials that it was pursuing a nuclear bomb.

Israel's Ambassador in Germany Yakov Hadas-Handelsman responded to the German intelligence reported, as quoted by i24news.

“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,” he told 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 quoted by i24news 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.”

The Iranian nuclear deal was implemented at the beginning of the year, despite a December 2 report from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) which concluded that Iran made a "coordinated" effort to develop nuclear weapons in the past.

The UN watchdog also released a report around the same time which determined that Iran had violated the terms of its nuclear deal with the West by increasing its stockpile of low-enriched uranium by 460.2 kilograms.




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