The German Intelligence Agency (BND) claims that Iran is “actively seeking products and scientific know-how” from German companies “for developing weapons of mass destruction and missile technology,” but Iranian political observer Hassan Beheshtipour dismissed the accusation as a “US-Israeli conspiracy against Iran” where BND is merely a pawn.
On Thursday, Fox News reported that German intelligence agency BND has prepared a report on Iran, warning that the Islamic Republic
“is actively seeking products and scientific know-how for the field of developing weapons of mass destruction as well as missile technology.” For the purpose, the country is “targeting German companies through various fronts.”
The 181-page manual, the broadcaster said, was published last month and released on Tuesday by officials from the heavily industrialized southern German state of Baden-Württemberg. According to it, “in one case, Iran allegedly worked through a Chinese front company to seek ‘complex metal-producing machines’ from a German engineering firm. German intelligence officials blocked the sale when they told the engineering firm the merchandise was slated to be unlawfully routed to Iran.”
Sputnik Iran discussed the issue with Hassan Beheshtipour, Iranian political observer, an expert on nuclear issues and foreign policy contributor for PRESS TV Network, who called the accusations absurd.
“From the ideological point of view, the 181-page report could be regarded as a new attempt of the Israeli and American intelligence services and the Zionist lobby to discredit Iran with the help of Germany. It looks like a new scenario for the implementation of their schemes which they plotted back in 2001 and which they later modified into the anti-Iranian dossier on the nuclear program. However they failed,” Hassan Beheshtipour told Sputnik.
Not a single evidence has been submitted that Iran is trying to develop nuclear weapons. Moreover, the expert said, it has been proved that Iran’s nuclear research pursues purely peaceful purposes. Therefore the above services decided to concentrate their efforts on [Iran’s] missile program and allege it has the capacities of weapons of mass destruction.
Hassan Beheshtipour pointed out at a number of mismatches which reveal a framing-up.
First of all, Iran was one of the first countries to sharply condemn and oppose the spread of weapons of mass destruction. It actively cooperates with the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). It has also stepped up its cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on the various stages of control and inspection, especially after the signing of the nuclear deal. Iran strictly fulfills all the protocols with regards to Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) under the full control of IAEA. No doubts have been left with regards to its nuclear program. And there are no doubts that Iran makes no attempts to develop a weapon of mass destruction.
The expert also reminded that Iran’s missile program is of purely defensive, not offensive nature.
With regards to the defensive program, which also includes the missile program, it is even more transparent. Iran repeatedly reiterated that it has the right for the self-defense and will neither discuss this issue with anyone nor negotiate on it.
The country’s missile program, he said, falls within the so-called conventional weapons. Iran has condemned any productions of the chemical weapons at the highest level. This decree of Supreme Leader of Iran, Ayatollah Khamenei has been protocoled in UN. It has been repeatedly referred to during the negotiations on Iran’s nuclear program. Thus Iran, apart from nuclear and chemical weapons, has no other restrictions for its defense industry.
Iran’s defense industry, which also includes the missile program, had taken the center stage during the Iran-Iraq war (1980-1988) when the regime of Saddam Hussein was bombing Iranian cities. Iran then was forced to turn to many countries with the request to supply missile weaponry to be able to defend itself. It had no missile engineering at that time. However practically no one (except for 2 countries) responded to its requests. It gave an impulse to Tehran to set up and further develop its missile engineering.
Since then Iran has reached high success in this area, it now possesses its own developments and technologies. Thus it simply does not need any know-hows of German or Chinese companies, especially bypassing the sanctions, which are still partially in place.
Thus, the expert said, all the accusations of Iran, put forward in this report, are absolutely absurd. Iran is developing missiles of various ranges purely for its defensive purposes in case of an external attack. Iranian missile program is of defensive and not of offensive character. It is a mean of containment, and not of aggression, Hassan Beheshtipour finally stated.
Why Syria Cease-fire Is Bad News For Israel
HAARETZ – Despite the many failures chalked up in recent years, the cease-fire in the Syrian Golan Heights declared over the weekend by Russia and the United States isn’t without potential. When the two superpowers put their weight behind an agreement, Syrian President Bashar Assad’s army and the local militias are more likely to respond positively, at least for the short term.
But from Israel’s perspective, the real problem is long term — not the halting of the gunfire (although that is a positive outcome, since that will stop the instances of “accidental” fire into Israeli territory), but the question of the presence of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, Hezbollah, and the Shi’ite militias near the border on the Golan.
The forecast isn’t very optimistic regarding this point. In recent months there has been an increased presence of Hezbollah operatives in the area and apparently Iranian advisers in the corridor that connects Damascus to the town of New Quneitra on the Golan Heights.
Hezbollah men have also been very active among the rebels around the town of Daraa, deep in the territory, near the border with Jordan. Israel, which officially is not a party to the new agreement, has stressed recently that it will not accept the presence of Iran and Shi’ite militias near the border. The question is who will make sure that Israel’s red line isn’t crossed.
For the agreement to be enforced there needs to be inspection in the field, i.e., a real presence of those sponsoring the agreement, or in military parlance, “boots on the ground.” But the United States doesn’t seem interested in putting its soldiers at risk in a lengthy oversight mission on the Golan.
The mandate of the UN forces in the area is related solely to supervising implementation of the 1974 separation of forces agreement between Syria and Israel. Israel isn’t prepared to rely on Russian oversight, despite the open military channels with Moscow ever since Russian forces were sent to Syria nearly two years ago. Russia has said that it plans to deploy military police forces in the Golan, but Israel’s defense establishment doubts that these forces are capable of, or even want to, block Iranian access to the border area.
Iran builds its strategy slowly, over time. If, within a few months, Tehran can establish a new reality in which the Revolutionary Guards and Hezbollah have direct access to the Israeli border from the areas controlled by the Assad regime in the northern Golan, it will have accomplished its goal. In Israel’s eyes this is a problematic possibility, and Moscow’s promises are not reassuring. On the contrary; it could be that Russia’s presence in the region will complicate matters because Israel will have a harder time chasing away Hezbollah.
Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman on Sunday reiterated that Israel is not a party to the agreement and if necessary its military retains the right to operate freely. But despite the declarations, it doesn’t mean that Israel will be free to act as it chooses when the agreement goes into effect.
According to the Arab media, Israel and Jordan are meant to act, each in its own region, to restrain the Sunni militias with which they coordinate, in order to prevent them from attacking Assad’s forces. In the case of Israel, at issue is an organization called The Golan Horsemen, whose members are deployed in a few villages on the Syrian side of the central Golan and which, according to media reports, receive regular aid from Israel. The Wall Street Journal reported last month that Israeli aid to the rebels includes the supply of weapons and ammunition.
The agreements could collapse from below, as a result of developments in the field. But their long-term success also depends on what happens above, between Washington and Moscow.