By Arab News
By Dr. Majid Rafizadeh*
After an investigation by Germany’s domestic intelligence agency, the federal prosecutor’s office last week ordered the German police to carry out raids around the country on properties linked to suspected Iranian spies. The Iranian agents are believed to have spied on persons and organizations “on behalf of an intelligence unit associated with Iran.”
The Iranian authorities have declined to comment on this critical issue in order to evade responsibility. The regime has successfully escaped accountability since its establishment in 1979.
Espionage poses a threat to Berlin’s and the EU’s security. The EU and Germany should take this issue extremely seriously and reconsider their full support for the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, commonly known as the Iran nuclear deal. In addition, Germany ought to reconsider its increasing business deals and trade with the Iranian regime. These policies only strengthen the regime’s institutions, which are behind such heinous and illegal acts.
It is also worth noting that Germany’s appeasement policies and increasing trade with the regime make it much easier for Iranian spies to infiltrate Berlin.
Iran’s espionage in the West highlights the fact that appeasing the Iranian leaders with trade and sanctions relief only empowers them, making them stronger and more destructive as they pursue their hegemonic and ideological ambitions. This causes further instability and conflicts.
There are two major Iranian institutions that plan and orchestrate espionage in foreign countries. First is the Quds Force — an elite branch of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). The second institution is the Ministry of Intelligence under the leadership of hard-line cleric Mahmoud Alavi, who was appointed by the so-called “moderate” president, Hassan Rouhani.
Iran’s spies operate heavily in Arab countries as well. Last August, Kuwaiti authorities arrested 12 people who were convicted in absentia of spying for the Iranian regime and its Lebanese proxy Hezbollah. In October, a Bahraini court found a group of 19 people guilty of leaking information to the IRGC and Hezbollah in exchange for receiving “material support” from the Iranian regime. And, in late 2016, a court in Saudi Arabia found 15 people guilty of spying for Iran.