German technology was sold to Iranian companies and subsequently used in Syrian chemical weapons attacks, the mass-circulation BILD reported on Monday.
Germany’s Federal Office for Economic Affairs and Export Control approved a license for a company to sell military-applicable technology to Iranian firms.
The German company Krempel, located near the southern city of Stuttgart, sold electronic press boards to Iranian companies that were used in the production of rockets. The Jerusalem Post reported in 2017 that multiple German intelligence reports revealed that Iran sought chemical and biological weapons technology from the Federal Republic.
The research of human rights group Syrians for Truth and Justice, BILD and the online investigative journalist website Bellingcat showed photographs of the rocket remains with the Krempel logo and the product’s signature “Made in Germany” line. The rocket debris was found after two poison gas attacks assumed to have been conducted by Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime. Krempel confirmed the delivery of electronic technology “Presspan PSP 3040,” a material with a cellulose base used for insulation.
The chemical attacks took place on January 22 and February 1. The gas attack in January resulted in 21 injuries, including many children.
BILD quoted Eliot Higgins from Bellingcat, who said that both gas attacks showed that “the rockets were produced in 2016 and delivered from Iran.”
The Krempel Group describes its work on its website as “an independent manufacturer of high-quality semi-finished products and a leading global system supplier of modern materials. Our electrical insulations, composites, solar and electronic materials, as well as special laminates, enjoy an excellent reputation worldwide and we are global market leaders in many of these sectors.”
The company has facilities and distribution companies in Poland, China, the UK, USA and Austria. It is unclear if Krempel’s delivery of the advanced technology is a violation of UN regulations and US sanctions. A spokesman for Krempel told BILD that the company is “shocked… that its Presspan PSP 3040 apparently was used in motors that were applied to weapons of war. “
BILD wrote that the delivery of dual-use technology to Iran, which can be used for both military and civilian purposes, raises questions about whether Germany’s export control policy is feeble. Germany is Iran’s largest and most important EU trade partner. German exports to Iran increased in 2017 by 19%, amounting to just under €2.4 billion ($2.98 billion) in export volume. Germany’s Iranian-regime-friendly Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel has traveled with two business delegations to Iran to boost trade.
The British publication Jane’s Defense Weekly reported in 2005 that the Islamic Republic would work with Syria to build an “innovative chemical warfare program.” Iran’s role was to build equipment to produce “hundreds of tons of precursors for VX, sarin and mustard.”
A June intelligence report from the southwestern state of Baden-Württemberg, where Krempel is located, stated, “Regardless of the number of national and international sanctions and embargoes, countries like Iran, Pakistan and North Korea are making efforts to optimize corresponding technology.”
According to the report, Iran sought “products and scientific knowhow for the field of developing weapons of mass destruction as well missile technology.” The 181-page document cites Iran’s cyberware, espionage, terrorism and weapons of mass destruction procurement activities 49 times. A Chinese import-export company contacted a firm in the German state that sells “complex metal producing machines,” the intelligence agency wrote. The technology would aid Iran’s development of ballistic missiles, it wrote.
Iran made nearly 40 attempts to obtain illicit nuclear and missile goods in Germany during 2016.
According to a WikiLeaks dispatch on Tehran’s role in chemical warfare, “New Zealand assesses that the cooperation is mainly driven by Iran’s desire for increased strategic importance in the region. New Zealand also assesses that Iran’s biotechnology sector is far more advanced than Syria’s, and Iran does not mind sharing its knowledge with Syria.”