Has Germany contributed to the civilian nuclear program of Tehran, which is suspected of secretly developing nuclear weapons? That, writes Der Spiegel, is what "Operation Ventilator” is seeking to uncover, as the German authorities have called the investigation to find out if German companies have illegally sold high-tech components to Iran in violation of the sanctions imposed by the UN and the EU.
The investigation led to the arrest in early August of four people in Germany and the discovery of a network responsible for having delivered four sets of valves ("Ventil" in German) worth several million euros through Turkey and Azerbaijan since 2007. According to the German weekly they were evidently recently installed in the nuclear power plant at Arak, which is on the International Atomic Energy Agency’s blacklist —
These studies show that, despite all the sanctions, Germany is still a hub of illegal shipments to Iran.
The case could embarrass Chancellor Angela Merkel, who has always opposed military intervention in Iran in favour of strict sanctions against Iran’s nuclear program within the framework of the UN and the EU, notes Der Spiegel —
If companies in Germany are getting through the net [of controls] and being seen at the international level as collaborating freely with the regime of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, her argument would lose weight.
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