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Iranian Spies Target Jewish Centers in Berlin - Focus

Reichstag, Berlin

Searching homes and offices of ten suspected Iranian “spies” has led the police to conclude the activities of the suspects were focused on Jewish centers in Berlin, German weekly Focus reports, Friday, January 19.

It was earlier reported that on Tuesday morning, January 16, German police had raided the homes and offices of the suspects, spying for the Islamic republic.

“We believe the suspects spied on institutions and persons in Germany on behalf of an intelligence unit associated with Iran,” a spokeswoman for the Federal Prosecutors Office, Frauke Koehler announced.

Citing intelligence sources, Focus says, “The Iranians were monitoring potential targets, including the influential American Jewish Committee (AJC) in Berlin for possible attacks”.

An orthodox Jewish community at Berlin's central Alexanderplatz square and its rabbi had also been under surveillance by the Islamic Republic's agents, the German security sources told the weekly. Also on the list of the Iranian secret service was the gymnastics and sports club Makkabi.

Based on this report, AJC has called upon German authorities to expel Tehran’s ambassador to Berlin, Ali Majedi.

Furthermore, Focus notes that, two days before last Christmas Eve, the Islamic Republic’s ambassador to Berlin was summoned to the German Foreign ministry. At the meeting, Ali Majedi was told to relay a message to Tehran, asking the authorities there to immediately stop their espionage activities against German interests.

However, no other sources have confirmed the report, yet.

Josef Schuster, chairman of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, told Focus that "this action should not go unpunished."

According to Schuster, “In view of its espionage activities, neither Iran could be a partner with the German government, nor should Germany put economic interests ahead of its internal security”.

The Focus report comes after the German Federal Prosecutor ordered searches of apartments and business premises of ten suspected Iranian agents around the country.

Meanwhile, Israel’s Kan public broadcaster reported on Tuesday that Israeli intelligence agents provided critical information that led to the raids on the homes and offices of suspected Iranian spies across Germany.

Based on the Kan report, the Quds Force had tried to recruit non-Iranian Shiites — primarily those with European citizenship — to establish a terror cell to carry out attacks throughout the continent.

A senior state security official, without being named, told Focus, “Iran is expanding. In the event of a military conflict in the Persian Gulf, with the involvement of the US and Israel; Germany and Europe would offer well-documented targets for retaliatory attacks, including murder and bombing.”

On the day of the raids, German authorities were cited as saying, the suspected Iranians belong to a special unit of the Quds Force, which kills opponents of the Ayatollahs’ regime worldwide. Its agents are trained in combat on land and underwater, and are also paratroopers and explosives experts.

Israel’s Ambassador to Germany, Jeremy Issacharoff, told Kan that “the affair should raise a red flag not only in Germany, but in all of Europe.”

According to the Times of Israel, “Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has declined to comment directly on news of the arrest”. However, he noted, "We have helped thwart at least thirty major attacks in dozens of countries in the past two years or so, including cases involving civilian aviation. I would say that no other intelligence service in the world has thwarted more (attacks) than ours has”.