Iran sought nuclear weapons tech in Europe

Four agencies publish reports into Iranian attempts


Iran sought technology for the world’s deadliest weapons in 2020 and continued to work on nuclear devices that year, European intelligence agencies say in newly published reports in Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden.

The Islamic Republic of Iran uses “conspiratorial methods” to cover up its illicit activity to obtain weapons of mass destruction technology (atomic, biological and chemical), according to a report last week by the domestic intelligence agency of the German state of Schleswig-Holstein.

The Office for the Protection of the Constitution in Schleswig-Holstein, the formal name for the intelligence agency, is the rough equivalent of the United Kingdom’s MI5.

Last week’s Schleswig-Holstein report on the Iranian regime’s “establishment of illegal procurement networks [for weapons of mass destruction technology]” comes on the heels of additional intelligence warnings from Sweden, the Netherlands and the German state of Bavaria.

Sweden’s Security Service reported, in the most damning section on Tehran’s work on atomic weapons, that “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.”

The Netherlands' General Intelligence and Security Service (AIVD) confirmed the German and Swedish agencies’ findings about Iran’s illicit activities in Europe. According to the Dutch report, the 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 Dutch agency added that the intelligence services in the Netherlands are “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.”

Bavaria’s domestic intelligence agency said in its report that Iran’s regime made efforts to expand its “conventional arsenal of weapons through the production or constant modernization of weapons of mass destruction.”

The Bavarian document added that to secure the “necessary know-how” and technology, Iran’s regime is “trying to establish business contacts with companies in high-technology countries like Germany.”

The United Kingdom, France, Germany, China and Russia are negotiating in Vienna with Iran’s regime in an effort to persuade the US to re-enter the 2015 nuclear accord.

Iran has violated the conditions of the 2015 accord, which was designed to provide economic sanctions relief to Tehran in exchange for temporary restrictions on its nuclear program.

The Trump administration withdrew in 2018 from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the formal name for the nuclear deal, saying it would not stop Iran’s regime from building nuclear weapons.


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