German police arrested a German-Iranian man suspected of exporting equipment to be used in Iran's nuclear and missile programmes in breach of European Union sanctions, Reuters reported the country's federal prosecutor saying today.
Police searched 11 locations, including apartments and offices in the states of Hamburg, Schleswig Holstein and North Rhine-Westphalia linked to the suspect, the prosecutor said.
The suspect, identified only as Alexander J. under privacy rules, had shipped equipment worth €1.1 million ($1.3 million) to an Iranian whose company in Iran was blacklisted by the EU as a front to procure equipment for nuclear and rocket programmes.
The GBA general prosecutor's office said the suspect was approached in 2018 and 2019 to procure laboratory equipment. He shipped two spectrometers procured for €166,000 ($196,250) to Iran in January 2020, and six months later shipped another two, procured for €388,000 ($458,705).
He did not apply for a special export licence which would have been required to ship such equipment to a recipient on the EU blacklist.
Western countries have long accused Iran of seeking nuclear weapons, which Tehran denies. In 2015, Iran signed a deal with global powers to curb its nuclear programme in return for the lifting of international sanctions. US President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew from the deal and reimposed sanctions. Iran responded by violating some of its terms. Negotiations have been held this year to revive it.