Israel warns of Iran’s attempt to obtain technology from Europe

By Arie Egozi

Israel has issued a warning to certain European countries about the increased efforts of the Iranian secret service to acquire dual-use technologies. The aim is to obtain materials that can be utilized for the production of weapons of mass destruction. A report from the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) reveals that Iran has been attempting to procure various components for its military industry in Europe for several years. The European Union and Germany have regulations in place regarding the sale of these materials, components, and knowledge, particularly when they have dual-use applications.

Intelligence services in Europe are closely monitoring these illicit deals and their procurement routes. The report is based on information published by agencies in the Netherlands, Sweden, and Germany during the first half of 2023. Interestingly, media outlets in these countries have largely refrained from reporting on their respective intelligence findings concerning Iran’s illicit nuclear proliferation activities.

One example cited in the report comes from the Swedish Security Service’s annual report published in February 2023. It states that Iran engages in industrial espionage, particularly targeting the Swedish high-tech industry and products that could be used in its nuclear weapons program. The Netherlands General and Intelligence Security Service (AVID) also highlighted Iran’s proliferation activities in its 2022 report released in April 2023. The AVID successfully prevented Russia and Iran from acquiring Dutch knowledge or technology for their nuclear weapons programs on multiple occasions.

 

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The report emphasizes that Iran has continued to advance its nuclear program, increasing its stocks of 20% and 60% enriched uranium, which can potentially be further enriched to the 90% level required for nuclear weapons. The Swedish Security Service’s situational assessment report from 2022-2023, released in February 2023, confirms Iran’s engagement in industrial espionage and highlights foreign interests in Swedish research and industry, given Sweden’s advancements in various military-related fields.

In Germany, intelligence services are decentralized, and each state issues its own report. The intelligence agency for Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany’s most populous state, defines “proliferation” in its April 2023 report as the spread of atomic, biological, or chemical weapons of mass destruction, including the means of delivery such as rockets and drones, as well as the products and know-how necessary for their production.

 

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