Man arrested in Germany over illegal shipments for Iran’s nuclear programme

The German-Iranian man was held on suspicion of breaching EU sanctions

FILE - In this June 6, 2018 frame grab from the Islamic Republic Iran Broadcasting, IRIB, state-run TV, three versions of domestically-built centrifuges are shown in a live TV program from Natanz, an Iranian uranium enrichment plant, in Iran. (IRIB via AP, File)
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German police have arrested a German-Iranian man suspected of exporting equipment to be used in Iran’s nuclear and missile programmes.

The suspect, identified only as Alexander J, shipped equipment worth €1.1 million to an Iranian, whose company in Iran was blacklisted by the EU, Germany’s federal prosecutor said on Tuesday.

His business was said to be proscribed because it was a front to procure equipment for nuclear and rocket programmes, in breach of European Union sanctions.

Police searched 11 places, including apartments and offices in the states of Hamburg, Schleswig-Holstein and North Rhine-Westphalia linked to the suspect, the prosecutor said.

The general prosecutor’s office said the suspect had been approached in 2018 and 2019 to procure laboratory equipment.

He shipped two spectrometers procured for €166,000 ($196,510) to Iran in January 2020, and six months later shipped another two, procured for €388,000.

He did not apply for the special export licence required to ship such equipment to a recipient on the EU blacklist.

Western countries have long accused Iran of seeking nuclear weapons, a charge Tehran denies. In 2015, Iran signed a deal with global powers to curb its nuclear programme in return for the lifting of international sanctions.

US President Donald Trump withdrew from the deal, and Iran responded by breaching some of its terms. Negotiations have been held this year to revive the agreement.

Updated: September 15, 2021, 3:52 AM