Probe shows Iran using Britain as base to purchase war supplies

Friday, January 23, 1998 | by

LONDON (JTA)—Iran is using Britain as the hub of a sophisticated supply network to accelerate its program for producing missi



Iranian military scientists have reportedly already acquired other vital components for their program, some disguised as medical equipment and auto parts.

An Iranian-born businessman, who allegedly posed as a commercial buyer in Britain while working as an agent for the Iranian military, has been indicted on charges of breaching British export controls.

The indictment apparently followed a raid by German police on a Dusseldorf company that acted as a front for the Defense Industries Organization, an arm of the Iranian Defense Ministry.

German authorities are said to have discovered documents detailing a huge purchasing operation to obtain weapons of mass destruction, and experts fear that the technology acquired by the front company will significantly assist the Iranian missile and nuclear programs.

The disclosures are likely to embarrass British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook, who challenged U.S. calls for tough trade sanctions against Iran during a visit to Washington last week.

Cook, echoing the view of the 15-nation European Union, said economic sanctions would not "have serious effect on Iran's attempts to acquire weapons of mass destruction."