A missile on display during a military parade outside Tehran. (AP)

June 16, 2021

Germany’s federal intelligence agency on Tuesday released a report detailing security threats faced by the federal republic in 2020, ranging from Iran’s drive to obtain illicit technology for its nuclear weapons program to its increased attempts to secure material for its missile program.
The report revealed a significant increase in membership and support for Iran-backed Hamas and Hezbollah, who are active in Germany.
The Jerusalem Post examined the 420-page German-language report for The Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution—the formal name for the national intelligence agency.

According to the report, “the indications of proliferation-relevant procurement attempts by the Islamic Republic for its nuclear program increased in 2020.”

The intelligence officials wrote “However, a violation of the JCPOA in these cases could not be determined,” The report appears to contradict itself. On the one hand, the document asserts Iran’s regime sought illicit nuclear weapons technology in 2020 in Germany but, on the other hand, the attempts are not a violation of the 2015 nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

It is unclear how German intelligence arrived at different conclusions. Germany’s government is one of the strongest advocates of the atomic deal and Berlin has long been the most important European trade partners for Tehran. Germany stands to benefit economically from the Iran nuclear accord.

The intelligence officials define proliferation activities as “the spread of atomic, biological or chemical weapons of mass destruction (ABC weapons) or the goods and technologies used in their manufacture, and corresponding weapon carrier systems (e.g. missiles and drones), including the necessary know-how, is called proliferation.”
The Iranian regime, cited 100 times in the document, sought technology for its missile program. “The ambitious Iranian launcher technology/missile program is not covered by the JCPOA or the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action—the 2015 nuclear agreement that aims to restrict Tehran’s nuclear activities in exchange for economic sanctions relief. Therefore for this purpose Iran’s procurement activities in Germany have remained continuously high.… the trend is rising” when compared with the previous year, wrote the intelligence officials.

The intelligence report could impact the current negotiations in Vienna where the world powers are seeking to bring Iran’s regime into compliance with the nuclear accord.

The intelligence agency said the ayatollahs are “pursuing one of the most extensive missile programs in the Middle East. Iran is accused, among other things, of supplying missile and drone technology to various state and non-state actors in the Middle East region, in contravention of current resolutions of the UN Security Council.”
The report cited the conviction of a Chinese businessman and his German employee in the state court in Bavaria last September, for sending to Iran “proliferations-relevant machines” that can be used for military purposes.
“In two cases, both [the Chinese businessman and the German citizen] exported proliferation-relevant machines to Iran with the involvement of Iranian procurement companies while deceiving the responsible export control authorities. An actual use of the machines in the Iranian missile launch technology cannot be ruled out.”
Both defendants, who were not named in the report, issued full confessions. The court sentenced  the Chinese businessman to a two year and ninth month prisoner term and  his German employee was slapped with a non-prison conviction of one year and six months.
The Post reported that Swedish, Dutch and state German intelligence reports over the last few months concluded that the Islamic Republic of Iran sought to obtain technology in 2020 for its nuclear weapons program, including WMD.
“Iranian procurement efforts continue to be the focus of counter-proliferation. The clarification of possible Iranian proliferation efforts for the local nuclear program as well for the ambitious and internationally sanctioned missile and missile launcher program is a high priority,”  The German federal report said.
It added that the number of Iranian-backed Hezbollah supporters and members  increased in Germany from 1,050 in 2019 to 1,250 in 2020. Germany banned all Hezbollah activities within the federal republic in 2020. Membership of Hamas and its supporters also rose in the federal republic from 380 in 2019 to 450 in 2020.

Responding to a Post article on the intelligence agency for the state of Lower Saxony, which noted an increase of German Hezbollah members in early June, the former acting director of US National Intelligence and ex-US ambassador to Germany, Richard Grenell, tweeted:

“It’s good the Germans moved last year to outlaw Hezbollah – despite the EU’s inaction. The German government now has more legal tools to shut Hezbollah down and arrest its supporters.”
The federal report noted that the Iranian regime’s intelligence agencies are  a “central instrument by which the political leadership  retains control” and, as a result, the Islamic Republic’s intelligence organs focus on  the Iranian opposition.
“The threat level of Iranian opposition members in Germany and Europe remained high in 2020. German-Iranian citizens are also affected. The kidnapping of a German-Iranian dual national clearly underscores this,” wrote the intelligence officials.
The report said that The Ministry of Intelligence of the Islamic Republic of Iran (MOIS)  targets people who are in Iran for “work or family visits.” The MOIS imposes pressure on the targets, including their family members in Iran, to force them to cooperate with the intelligence agency.
The Jerusalem Post 

About Track Persia

Track PersiaTrack Persia is a Platform run by dedicated analysts who spend much of their time researching the Middle East, in due process we fall upon many indications of growing expansionary ambitions on the part of Iran in the MENA region and the wider Islamic world. These ambitions commonly increase tensions and undermine stability.