The federal prosecutor’s office in Germany released a statement that the police conducted a series of searches related to investigations of 10 suspected Iranian spies. No arrests were made as a result of the January 16 raids. The raids were a result of information received from Germany’s Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV).
Stefan Biehl, a spokesman for the German federal prosecutor, said the suspects were thought to have “spied on institutions and persons in Germany on behalf of an entity associated with Iran.”
Reports have indicated that the suspects are members of Iran’s Quds Force, a special unit of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), although the German prosecutors have not confirmed it.
A representative of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) in Germany stressed, “The only way to put an end to the ominous phenomenon of terrorism by the Iranian regime in Germany is the closure of its embassy. This is a center for expanding terrorism and fundamentalism. The Iranian regime’s agents and spies should be expelled from Germany.”
In 2007, the U.S. Treasury Department designated the Quds Force as a terrorist organization for sending weapons and ammunition to the Taliban in Afghanistan. The Quds Force is responsible for carrying out missions outside of Iran and reports directly to the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei.
These raids are just one of the latest in a series of espionage involving Iran and Germany. The German government protested to the Iranian ambassador in December 2017 regarding the conviction of a Pakistani man who was prosecuted for serving as an Iranian agent. He was convicted and sentenced to four years and three months in prison for gathering intelligence on Reinhold Robbe, the former head of the German-Israel Friendship Society.
“The Iranian regime utilizes its embassy in Berlin under the guise of diplomatic relations to expand its espionage and terror network in Germany. The German security entities have underscored that the Iranian regime’s embassy in Berlin is the center of the regime’s malign activities in Germany,” said the NCRI representative.
The Quds Force – a US-classified terrorist entity that is part of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) – paid Haidar Syed-Naqfi at least €2,052 from July 2015 through July 2016. The US government declared the IRGC to be a terrorist entity in October; Germany and the EU have declined to do so.
Germany also warned Tehran against spying on any groups with close ties to Israel.
“Spying on people and institutions with special ties to the state of Israel on German soil is an egregious violation of German law,” said an official of the Foreign Ministry. Philipp Ackermann, acting director of the Foreign Ministry’s political section, told the Iranian ambassador that “such activities would not be tolerated and were completely unacceptable.”
Germany’s Foreign Ministry said Iranian Ambassador Ali Majedi was summoned and told that “spying on people and institutions with a particular relationship to the state of Israel on German soil is a blatant violation of German law.”
On a separate issue, the German federal prosecutor’s office is examining whether charges can be brought against a senior Iranian cleric, Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi, who is receiving medical treatment in Germany. Shahroudi is the former head of Iran’s justice minister.
“It’s a slap in the face to exiled Iranians and others to see such a former leader of the Iranian regime being treated in Germany,” said Robbe.
The revelation of this espionage and terrorist network in Germany clearly reaffirms the reality that the Iranian regime exploited the policy of appeasement to expand its terrorist and spy network in Germany. These activities not only endanger Iranian refugees in Europe, and the security of countries throughout Europe.
The Iranian regime has been using its network to spy not only on those associated with pro-Israel individuals and organizations. Additionally, there is evidence that Tehran made nearly 40 attempts in 2016 to purchase missile and atomic technology. The NGO Stop the Bomb urged the German government to abandon its pro-Iran regime policies and show unconditional solidarity with the protestors calling for an end to the Islamic Republic of Iran.