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German Intelligence: Iran Still Buying Nuke Material

Germany’s intelligence service has reported that Iran tried to acquire nuclear, ballistic missile, and “dual use” technology in 2015, including after the nuclear deal was signed in July. The Financial Times reports:

The annual report of the Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz (BfV) said that illegal Iranian attempts to procure technology “continued on a quantitatively high level by international standards” in Germany in 2015.

“This was particularly the case for merchandise that could be deployed in the field of nuclear technology,” the report said. There was also an increase in Iranian efforts to buy parts for missiles that could be fitted with nuclear warheads, it added.[..]

A more detailed assessment of Iran’s activities in Germany was contained in the annual report of the BfV in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany’s most populous state, which was published on Monday.

It said that counter-intelligence agents had recorded 141 attempts to acquire technology for “proliferation” purposes in 2015 — nearly twice as many as in the previous year. Two-thirds of these — or nearly 100 — were traced to Iranian entities.

But the report said Iran’s main focus was to procure parts for its missile programme, rather than for nuclear purposes. German officials have used that detail to stress that Iran is not necessarily in violation of last year’s nuclear accord.

This has been the Obama Administration’s line, that the efforts by Iran to build and test nuclear weaponry (efforts that the Islamic Republic has gone out of its way at time to advertise) do not violate the deal as such, but only the UN Resolution that enacted it. And the consequence for that has been… more or less absolutely nothing.

Meanwhile in Germany, Angela Merkel has felt obligated to issue a public denunciation of Iran’s efforts:

The German intelligence report’s finding coincide with German Chancellor Angel Merkel’s statement today in the Bundestag that Iran violated the United Nations Security Council’s anti-missile development regulations.

Merkel said Thursday “Iran continued unabated to develop its rocket program in conflict with the relevant provisions of the UN Security Council.” She also said NATO’s anti-missile system targets Iran’s rocket program and was “developed purely for defense.”

As people such as Hudson Institute’s Mike Doran had long argued, and as we now know from the Jeffrey Goldberg Atlantic profile of the President, the nuclear deal was undertaken as an attempt to reposition the U.S. vis-a-vis Iran and hopefully open space in which Iran could moderate.

So far, at least, Tehran does not seem to have gotten the message.

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