Sunday, May 2, 2010

The Philadelphia Bulletin: Iran Orders German Items for Missiles

Jerusalem - The Middle East Newsline has confirmed that Germany continues to be the source of advanced components for Iran's missile program.

The Berlin government has determined that Iranian front companies were purchasing dual-use equipment and components for its ballistic missile programs. They said the items were often sent to third countries, particularly the United Arab Emirates, before they arrived in Iran.

"There is a large Iranian expatriate community in Germany and they have access to Western technology and equipment," an official said.

In April 2010, Germany launched prosecution of two Iranian nationals on charges of illegally exporting equipment to Iran. The two Iranians -- identified only as Mohsen A. and Behzad S. -- have been accused of exporting a vacuum sintering furnace.

Sintering was identified as a method for making objects from powder and could be used for armor or missile casing. Officials said the exports to Iran took place in July 2007 and were worth $1.14 million.

Mohsen was identified as a 52-year-old Iranian who headed an unidentified Iranian company since the 1990s. Behzad, who has not been arrested, was said to be a 49-year-old engineer with Iranian and German citizenship. The two were charged in a Duesseldorf court on March 24.

In 2004, officials said, the two defendants were ordered to procure a vacuum sintering furnace. They said Mohsen, arrested in October 2009,hired Behzad to purchase the equipment, which arrived in 2008 but was never fully installed.

The unidentified German manufacturer was said to have withdrawn from the contract when executives learned that the furnace was procured for Iran's missile program. Officials said the furnace was not believed to have been used.

Berlin has been cooperating with European, American and Israeli intelligence agencies to block German dual-use exports to Iran. Teheran has succeeded in procuring a range of components from Germany for both Iran's missile and nuclear programs.

"The Iranians have established a network that could take dual-use components to several destinations until they reach Iran," an Israeli official mentioned.

View this story in the Philadelphia Bulletin
View this story at Israel Behind the News

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