Germany says forces in Iran trying to torpedo nuclear deal
Noah Barkin, Reuters, Jul 8 2016
Responding to German intelligence agency reports that Iran has been trying to acquire nuclear technology in Germany, Berlin said on Friday that certain forces in Iran may be trying to undermine its nuclear deal with the West. Germany’s domestic intelligence agency, the Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV), said in its annual report that Iranian efforts to illegally procure technology, especially in the nuclear area, had continued at a “high level” in 2015. A separate report from the intelligence agency in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia this week said it had registered 141 attempts to acquire technology for proliferation purposes last year and that two-thirds of these attempts were linked to Iran. Asked about the reports on Friday, Foreign Ministry spokesman Martin Schaefer said Germany expected Iran to stick to a UNSCR which sets restrictions on arms-related transfers. But he also suggested that the procurement attempts may stem from forces in Iran that oppose last year’s nuclear deal, under which Iran agreed to roll back its nuclear program in exchange for the lifting of western economic sanctions. Schaefer said:
There are forces within Iran for which the policies of the country’s president and foreign minister are a thorn in the eye. They may be trying, one way or another, to undermine or torpedo the nuclear deal and the normalization of relations between us and Iran. We are watching this closely.
Schaefer said Germany had a “great deal of faith” in Rouhani and Zarif and had the impression that Tehran was doing its best to stick to the deal. Khamenei gave decisive support to the nuclear deal, but the IRGC have repeatedly criticized Rouhani’s foreign policy. Merkel, in a speech to parliament on Thursday, said ballistic missile launches carried out by Iran earlier this year were inconsistent with the UNSCR, which calls on Iran to refrain from work on missiles designed to deliver nuclear weapons for up to eight years. The NRW intelligence report said procurement efforts in 2015 had been focused on so-called “dual-use” technologies that can be used in both civil and military sectors. While nuclear-related procurement attempts fell slightly, those related to Iran’s missile program rose. The report said documents had been falsified to suggest technologies were destined for the oil, gas and steel industries. In an apparent attempt to cover its tracks, Iran was seeking to acquire technologies via third countries, including the UAE, Turkey and China, the report said.