German media said that Iran’s intelligence agency allegedly planned terrorist attacks against organizations and representatives engaged in pro-Israel work in Germany using spies.
German federal prosecutors pressed charges against a 31-year-old Pakistani student who they believe targeted on the head of the German-Israel Friendship Society and on economic entities.
The indictment of the 31-year-old citizen of Pakistan – identified only as “Syed Mustufa H.” – said he is suspected of intelligence activity from July 2015 to July 2016 on behalf of Iran’s regime. The federal prosecutor alleged that Mustufa spied on “institutions and persons.”
The suspected agent officially studied engineering in Bremen and also worked at the German Aerospace Center (DLR) in the northern German city, the reports said.
The targeted persons
The main targeted person, according to the reports, was Social Democratic Party (SPD) politician Reinhold Robbe.
Robbe served as president of the German-Israeli Society (DIG) until 2015. From 1994 to 2005, Robbe served as a Social Democratic Party deputy in the Bundestag. He later served as the parliamentary commissioner for the armed forces in the Bundestag.
The suspect compiled a thorough “movement profile” on Robbe and staked out the DIG offices in Berlin – signs authorities said were a clear indication of an assassination attempt.
The suspect paid particularly close attention to Robbe’s public transportation travel habits and charted alternate routes that he took on the way to the DIG Berlin building.
The Pakistani man is also accused of spying on a French-Israeli professor at a business school in Paris on behalf of Iranian intelligence. The suspect was previously detained by authorities in July 2016 under suspicion of espionage and was known to Germany’s domestic intelligence agency (BfV). The Pakistani suspect is believed to have been spying for Iran since July 2015.
The WDR channel reported that a second Pakistani suspect was arrested but was later released due to insufficient evidence. The suspect scrubbed his entire computer server of possibly incriminating information and departed the Federal Republic after his detainment.
Iran’s targeting of a German politician is the first reported case of an Iranian intelligence operation working to assassinate a government representative in the Federal Republic.
According to the Berlin-based Tagesspiegel newspaper, Mustafa was likely working for Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps. Mustafa studied engineering at Bremerhaven College and provided PowerPoint presentations to Iran’s intelligence agency. WDR said Mustafa communicated inaccurate information about Robbe.
The indictment states Mustafa had been in contact with a person from Iran’s intelligence agency responsible for espionage in Europe since 2011. German media said Mustafa’s espionage activity was part of a larger Iranian operation to target pro-Israel groups in France, Germany and other European countries.
security agencies speculate that the Iranian government could have been preparing a retaliatory move against people closely linked to Israel should Israel carry out airstrikes against Iranian nuclear power plants.
In July, a Berlin court convicted an Iranian man of espionage on behalf of Iran’s regime. The 32-year-old man was sentenced to nearly two-and-a-half years in prison for spying on Iranian dissidents in Germany. The Jerusalem Post’s review of German intelligence reports showed Iran ratcheted up its spy network in the Federal Republic in 2015. Iran has a vast espionage infrastructure in the country which coordinates with its embassy in Berlin.