Berlin – Iran’s regime continues its illicit efforts to obtain technology for its alleged nuclear weapons program, chemical weapons and rocket systems, according to a Sunday report in the large German daily Der Tagesspiegel.
According to the report, the German custom’s criminal investigation unit (ZKA) said Iran’s regime over the last few months sought components for its nuclear program in Germany. “We continue to observe criminal nuclear proliferation activity, “ said ZKA President Norbert Drude.
Iran employs front companies to disguise its illegal purchases, noted the ZKA, adding that the front companies and personnel were used in dozens of cases by Iran to obtain sanctioned economic goods. Iran was successful in some cases.
Germany has aimed to fill wide holes in its porous system of export control. The country’s regulatory agency continues, however, to approve dual-use technology to Iran. Dual-use merchandise can be used for military or civilian purposes. The regulatory agency BAFA refuses to name the German firm involved in dual-use trade.
The Tagesspiegel reported that Iran’s regime is well-know to German custom agents because of violations of the country’s export law. In cases from 2012 and 2013, more than two-thirds of the 264 investigations involved the Islamic Republic of Iran, said Drude. He added the number of Iran cases for 2014 will likely replicate the past years.
German exports to Iran jumped by about 33 percent in the first eight months of the year, lifted by an easing of Western sanctions against the Islamic Republic after an interim deal on its disputed nuclear work, data seen by Reuters showed.
Germany, Europe’s biggest economy, is traditionally Iran’s most important trading partner in the 28-nation European Union.
Data from the Statistics Office seen by Reuters shows that exports to Iran rose by 32.7 percent to 1.6 billion euros in the first eight months of the year compared to the same period last year. In 2013, they slumped by 26 percent and in the two previous years they fell by more than 18 percent.
While the amounts are small, the data is something of a bright spot for Germany, whose export-oriented economy is suffering from modest global growth and weakness in much of the European market. Its exports to Russia have plunged due to the impact of sanctions against Moscow over the Ukraine crisis.
Iran and six world powers, including Germany, reached an interim deal last November under which Tehran received limited sanctions relief in exchange for halting the production of medium enriched uranium.
“These relatively small steps have been like a lever starting a bigger movement,” said Jens Nagel of the BGA exporters’ and wholesalers’ association.
“The German economy especially could profit from a relaxation (in the sanctions),” he said, adding there was demand in Iran for German machines, vehicles and chemicals.
Several major companies such as Siemens have been forced to reduce their activities in Iran due to the sanctions. Other companies with business interests there include Bayer and utilities RWE and E.ON.
Content is provided courtesy of the Jerusalem Post