Iran General NewsGermany holds 2 men suspected of buying arms for...

Germany holds 2 men suspected of buying arms for Iran

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Reuters: German authorities have jailed two men suspected of buying weapons and missile technology on behalf of Iranian intelligence services, a German government official said on Saturday. By Louis Charbonneau

BERLIN, Feb 25 (Reuters) – German authorities have jailed two men suspected of buying weapons and missile technology on behalf of Iranian intelligence services, a German government official said on Saturday.

The two men, identified as a 59-year-old German citizen named Joseph Edward G. and a 41-year-old foreigner named Yousef P., were jailed pending completion of the prosecutors’ investigation of possible espionage activities.

“They were brought before the investigating judge at the district court in Karlsruhe on Friday, who decided to detain them on suspicion of acting as agents for an intelligence service,” the Federal Prosecutors Office said in a statement.

A German government official familiar with some aspects of the case told Reuters on condition of anonymity due to its sensitivity they were suspected of acting on behalf of Iran.

“This has to do with Iran again,” he said.

The prosecutors office said the two men “were occupied in recent months with shopping for control components for projectiles, equipment for the production of European Ariane IV launch vehicle rockets, military radio and night-vision equipment” and other items.

Although customs officials were able to stop one shipment of items out of Germany, authorities are investigating whether other shipments could have successfully left Germany, it said.

German police and customs officials investigating the case raided 12 premises across four states on Thursday and arrested the two men. The raids were in the western states of Baden-Wuerttemberg, Hesse, North Rhine-Westphalia and Saarland.

“The accused are suspected of attempting, in the service of a foreign intelligence agency, to obtain parts for delivery systems and conventional weaponry for armed forces,” the office said shortly after the raids.

Germany has strict rules against the sale of arms and sensitive dual-use technology to Iran and a number of other countries.

ESPIONAGE FOR IRAN

Yousef P. appears to be an intelligence agent and Joseph Edward G. was “one of his most significant contacts in Germany” who had connections with a number of other people in Germany whom he — the middleman — involved in his procurement efforts, the prosecutors said.

Last month, German federal prosecutors formally charged two German citizens with espionage in a separate case for helping an unidentified foreign intelligence agency acquire dual-use missile technology.

A German official familiar with the case said the country involved was Iran.

The prosecutors are also in contact with the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna as they investigate German involvement in a nuclear black market that supplied Iran, Libya and North Korea with uranium enrichment technology that can be used to produce fuel for nuclear power plants or weapons.

Some of the men who helped Iran get uranium enrichment technology could be charged with treason, EU diplomats familiar with the investigation told Reuters earlier this month.

Iran has a conventional missile programme but denies both seeking to arm these weapons with nuclear warheads and wanting nuclear weapons at all.

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