Interior Ministry reports show high volume of cases
The German Interior Ministry notified a Left Party deputy last week that agents from Iran have been some of the most active spies in the Federal Republic between 2007 and 2017, including assassination attempts on Israel advocates.
German authorities conducted criminal investigations into Iran for 22 cases of espionage, while Russia’s illicit spy activity led with 27 cases. China and Turkey both registered 15 spy cases. Syrian agents were involved in 8 espionage operations. According to the Interior Ministry letter sent to Left Party deputy Jan Korte, the federal government declared four Syrian agents persona non grata.
Other Middle Eastern and North African countries caught engaging in illegal covert operations inside Germany include Algeria, Libya, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Morocco. Germany initiated a total of 123 investigations over the last decade for espionage.
Last month, a Berlin court sentenced 31-year-old Pakistani citizen Mustufa Haidar Syed-Naqfi to four years and three months in prison for working for Iran’s intelligence service to spy “against Germany and another NATO member.”
According to German prosecutors, Haidar Syed-Naqfi was assigned to identify Israeli and Jewish institutions and Israel advocates in Germany, France and other unnamed Western European countries for possible attacks. He monitored a German-Jewish newspaper’s headquarters in Berlin and Reinhold Robbe, the former head of the German-Israel Friendship Society.
Haidar Syed-Naqfi spied on French-Israeli business Prof. David Rouach, who teaches at the elite Ecole Supérieure de Commerce de Paris and served as head of the French-Israeli Chamber of Commerce, and, according to German authorities, his actions were “a clear indication of an assassination attempt.”
The Quds Force – a US-classified terrorist entity that is part of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps – paid Haidar Syed-Naqfi at least €2,052 from July 2015 through July 2016.
Robbe told the Berlin court, “I consider the regime there [in Iran] to be one of the worst dictatorships on the planet.” The US is currently considering a terrorist designation for the IRGC.
The Jerusalem Post examined intelligence data and reports in 2016 from the 16 German states, which included new information on Iranian chemical and biological weapons programs. Half of Germany’s state governments reported in their 2015 intelligence documents attempts by Tehran to secure nuclear- related goods.
According to the intelligence report from Rhineland-Palatinate state, Iran was one of the foreign countries that targeted German companies in the state whose equipment could be “used for atomic, biological and chemical weapons in a war.”
The Interior Ministry letter, which was signed by Hans-Georg Engelke, the ministry’s under-secretary, did not outline the reasons for prosecuting Iranian agents.
Iran, according to WikiLeaks reports and media articles, helped build Syria’s chemical weapons program.