By Benjamin Weinthal
May 4, 2021
The Islamic Republic of Iran made multiple attempts in 2020 to obtain technology for its weapons of mass destruction program and has not stopped its drive to develop atomic weapons, intelligence agencies from the Netherlands, Sweden and Germany recently reported.
The Netherland’s General Intelligence and Security Service “investigated networks that tried to obtain the knowledge and materials to develop weapons of mass destruction. Multiple acquisition attempts have been frustrated by the intervention of the services,” the agency wrote in its April report.
According to the Dutch report, “The joint Counter-proliferation Unit (UCP) of the AIVD [the General Intelligence and Security Service] and the MIVD [the country’s Military Intelligence and Security Service] is investigating how countries try to obtain the knowledge and goods they need to make weapons of mass destruction. Countries such as Syria, Pakistan, Iran and North Korea also tried to acquire such goods and technology in Europe and the Netherlands last year.”
Iran’s regime was listed under the document’s section on preventing “countries from acquiring weapons of mass destruction.”
The intelligence agency did not provide details on the multiple attempts by the rogue nations to secure weapons of mass destruction technology. The report also did not state whether Iran’s regime illegally obtained technology and equipment for its nuclear program.
The General Intelligence and Security Service under its mandate “conducts investigations, provides information, and mobilizes third parties to safeguard the democratic legal order and national security, to actively reduce risks, and to contribute to foreign policy-making.”
The Netherlands’ MIVD and AIVD intelligence services, according to the report, “conducted intensive research into several very active networks” that are involved in proliferation and use various third parties in European countries. “Consequently, export licenses were verified and acquisition attempts frustrated,” the report said.
The damning findings from the fresh European intelligence are likely to animate broader discussion about whether the U.S. should return to the much-criticized 2015 Iran nuclear deal.
Critics have long argued the atomic accord places what is at best a temporary restriction on the Islamic Republic’s drive to join the club of nations with nuclear weapons.
A spokesperson for Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, told Fox News, “The Iranian regime has never stopped seeking weapons of mass destruction to use against America and our allies. Nevertheless, the Biden administration, like the Obama administration, is committed to dismantling all meaningful pressure against the regime and flooding it with hundreds of billions of dollars.
“Sen. Cruz had fought for years to prevent that from happening, and continues to emphasize that any deal with Iran not brought to the Senate as a treaty and passed by the Senate can and will be reversed by a future administration,” the spokesperson added.
The Biden administration is currently conducting indirect negotiations with Iran’s regime in Vienna about the U.S. rejoining the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the formal name for the 2015 nuclear accord.
The Trump administration withdrew from the nuclear pact in 2018 because U.S. officials believed the deal permitted Tehran’s rulers to build nuclear weapons.
The Swedish Security Service revealed in its intelligence report for 2020 that Iran sought Swedish technology for its nuclear weapons program. According to the document, “Iran also conducts industrial espionage, which is mainly targeted against Swedish hi-tech industry and Swedish products, which can be used in nuclear weapons programs. Iran is investing heavy resources in this area and some of the resources are used in Sweden.”
Iran’s regime wages industrial espionage against the Scandinavian country and targets its industry, the 88-page document notes.
In April, the Bavarian Office for the Protection of the Constitution, the domestic intelligence agency of the southern German state, wrote in its report for 2020: “Proliferation-relevant states like Iran, North Korea, Syria and Pakistan are making efforts to expand on their conventional arsenal of weapons through the production or constant modernization of weapons of mass destruction.”
The German intelligence agency, the rough equivalent of the FBI, noted that “In order to obtain the necessary know-how and corresponding components, these states are trying to establish business contacts with companies in high-technology countries like Germany.”
Jason M. Brodsky, senior Middle East analyst at Iran International, a London-based news organization, told Fox News, “I think these findings underscore the permissive environment that Europe affords for Iran to conduct industrial espionage and a range of other intelligence activities. They also highlight the need for the E3 [Britain, France, Germany] and the United States to obtain credible explanations from Tehran over the uranium traces found at undeclared sites throughout the country as a part of clarifying the outstanding safeguards issues with the IAEA [International Atomic Energy Agency].”
Brodsky continued, “The activities of the Organization of Defensive Innovation and Research (SPND) merit continued scrutiny in light of these revelations. SPND [a subsidiary organization of the Iranian Defense Ministry] inherited Iran’s past nuclear weapons program – Project Amad – and in 2019, the U.S. government found that the organization was functioning in a way so that the intellectual wealth of that program was preserved.
“That is not to mention SPND’s work on chemical weapons research through the Shahid Meisami Group, which the U.S. sanctioned in December 2020. These European intelligence findings demonstrate the need for continued vigilance over this entity and Iran’s ambitions for weapons of mass destruction,” Brodsky said.
The U.S. government – both Republicans and Democrats – have recognized Iran’s regime as the leading state sponsor of international terrorism.
Fox News did not receive an immediate response from Iran’s U.N. mission, its embassy in Berlin or its foreign ministry in Tehran.
Foundation for Defense of Democracies