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Germany sold technology to Iran used in Syria chemical attacks

February 6, 2018 at 2:00 pm

Syrians receive treatment at a hospital after the Assad Regime carried out a chlorine gas attack in Idlib, Syria on 4 February 2018 [Mahmut Bekkur/Anadolu Agency]

Germany approved a license for a company to sell military applicable technology to Iranian companies which were subsequently used by the Syrian regime to commit chemical weapons attacks, German publication Bild revealed yesterday.

The Federal Office for Economic Affairs and Export Control allowed German multinational Krempel to sell electronic press boards to Iranian companies that were used in the production of rockets. The Stuttgart-based company confirmed the delivery of the electronic technology “Pressspan PSP-3040”, an insulating material.

An investigation by human rights group, Syrians for Truth and Justice, Bild and the online journalist website Bellingcat, has found rocket debris with the Krempel logo and the “Made in Germany” product signature following at least two chemical attacks in Syria this year, those perpetrated on 22 January and 2 February.

Eliot Higgins from Bellingcat commented on the findings, stating that both gas attacks showed that “the rockets were produced in 2016 and delivered from Iran”.

It is unclear whether the Krempel delivery of the advanced technology is a violation of UN regulations and US sanctions. A spokesman for Krempel told Bild that the company was “shocked… that its Pressspan PSP-3040 apparently was used in motors that were applied to weapons of war.”

Read: US says Syria may be developing new types of chemical weapons

Germany is Iran’s largest and most important EU trade partner. German exports to Iran increased by 19 per cent last year amounting to just under $3 billion, and the country’s foreign minister has travelled to Tehran twice as part of official trade delegations. Iran has also sought to obtain illicit missiles and nuclear weapons from the country, making nearly 40 such attempts during 2016.

The news of Krempel’s dealings with Iran comes amid reports of another chemical attack on the province of Idlib on Sunday, with dozens of patients believed to be suffering from chlorine inhalation after three hospitals were also struck.

The German government called yesterday for a thorough investigation into reports Syria had used chemical weapons in both Idlib and Eastern Ghouta.

“If it is confirmed that the Syrian government has once again used chemical weapons, that would be an abhorrent act and an egregious violation of the moral and legal obligation to avoid the use of chemical weapons,” a German foreign ministry official said.

In the past two years, a joint inquiry by the United Nations and the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) has found the Syrian government used the nerve agent sarin and has also several times used chlorine as a weapon, killing hundreds of people, despite the regime’s claims to the contrary.

Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad first used sarin nerve gas to attack the Damascus suburb of Ghouta in 2013, killing nearly 1,500 civilians, including 426 children

Read: UN calls on Iran, Russia, Turkey to allow aid into Syria