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German intel: Iran attempted to acquire weapons of mass destruction

A 312-page report mentions cyber espionage, noting that “Iranian and Chinese cyber activities, in particular, indicate a continuing interest in economic and scientific goals.”

The Shahab-3 missile, seen here during Iran's 2012 “Great Prophet” military exercise. The Shahab-3 is a medium-range ballistic missile capable of delivering nuclear weapons. Credit: Hossein Velayati via Wikimedia Commons.
The Shahab-3 missile, seen here during Iran's 2012 “Great Prophet” military exercise. The Shahab-3 is a medium-range ballistic missile capable of delivering nuclear weapons. Credit: Hossein Velayati via Wikimedia Commons.

Iranian academics in Germany sought to gain knowledge about nuclear proliferation in attempt by the regime to obtain weapons of mass destruction in 2018, according to a new German intelligence report.

“Against this background [of proliferation], weapons of mass destruction continued to be a powerful political instrument during the reporting period, which could shake the stability of an entire state structure in both regional and international crisis situations,” according to the 312-page report from the state of Hesse obtained by Benjamin Weinthal and first revealed in the Jerusalem Post. “In particular, states such as Iran, North Korea, Pakistan and Syria attempted to acquire and redistribute such weapons in the context of proliferation, for example by concealing transport routes via third countries.”

Academics visiting from the aforementioned countries are engaged in “proliferation conduct” as part of intelligence coordination from those nations.

“An example of this is the field of electrical engineering combined with the use of centrifuges in the process of uranium enrichment,” according to the intelligence document. “Here, again and again, there are suspicions that foreign intelligence services put pressure on their own visiting scientists to obtain the desired technical know-how.”

Another example of intelligence control, it said, is “the exchange of research among university institutes in the chemical-biological process sector.”

The report also mentions cyber espionage in that “Iranian and Chinese cyber activities, in particular, indicate a continuing interest in economic and scientific goals.”

The intelligence report’s conclusions were identical to those from the states of Bavaria and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern.

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