“First, We Take Berlin…”
The involvement of Iran’s Germany-based diplomats in inappropriate activities are the strongest in any European or Western country. Not only are they involved directly – as in the case of the Mykonos massacre in Munich (see part 1), or as in the case of a death threat mail from the consulate in Munich against a German-Iranian rapper Shahin Najafi last year. They are apparently part of a larger infrastructure that Iran is developing in Germany.
In its recently issued annual report “for the Protection of the Constitution,” the German Federal Ministry of the Interior places emphasis on the growing influence of Iranian operatives in Germany and determines that Tehran is exploiting the country as a base for activity throughout Europe.
Embassy = IRGC/MOIS Headquarters
According to the report, Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence Service and Security (MOIS) and the intelligence department of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) operate out of Tehran’s Berlin embassy – where MOIS has its office. Needless to say, the diplomats at the embassy are instructed to cooperate fully with MOIS/IRGC operatives and, as outlined in our earlier posts, that cooperation includes aiding and abetting subversion activities by IRGC and proxy groups.
The goals of these agencies, the report states, is to monitor opposition groups in Europe and collect information that might help “export the revolution” to Europe. In this context, it makes reference to an ongoing investigation of the activities of MOIS/IRGC’s suspected espionage and threats against opposition leaders.
Iran’s embassy and consulates in Germany are involved, through MOIS/IRGC directives, in developing and maintaining business ties with German firms which view the sanctions as business opportunities. At the most basic level, this activity includes setting up meetings with high ranking Iranian officials – such as securing a speaking opportunity for Iranian Oil Minister Rostam Ghasemi at a recent conference in Frankfurt on July 10 with German counterparts (including German Federal Environment Minister Peter Altmaier and Federal Minister of Economics Philipp Rösler).
Money as a Motive for Cooperation
Germany remains the largest EU exporter of goods to Iran; some two-thirds of Iranian industrial firms use machinery and equipment made in Germany, and rely on imports of German spare parts. Apart from general goods and trucks, Germany is also an important base for purchasing knowhow and technologies relevant to Iran’s nuclear program which have become harder to obtain as a result of sanctions.
Exposure of the money trail between Germany and Iran frequently brings to light numerous firms and deals that are directly related to MOIS/IRGC officers or to funds – particularly the Execution of Imam Khomeini’s Order (EIKO), managed by Khamenei himself.
The picture emerging from the numerous cases of shipments of dubious content – from weapons to nuclear-related machinery – through German-owned shipping lines and agencies, is that Iran is abusing Germany’s hospitality (and the greed of some of its business people) to strengthen both its subversion activities in Europe and its nuclear program back home.
And since MOIS and the IRGC are not only involved but are actually operating from within the Iranian embassy in Berlin, it’s not difficult to figure out that the IRGC-affiliated diplomats are systematically abusing their rights under the Vienna Convention – the very international document meant to protect the integrity (and safety) of diplomats.
This does not mean that every Iranian diplomat in Germany is directly linked to illicit activity. It does mean that Iranian heads of mission are most likely familiar with – and therefore accountable for – the subversive activities of MOIS and the IRGC originating on German soil.