Iran denies German army translator spied for Tehran | News | DW | 20.01.2019
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Iran denies German army translator spied for Tehran

Tehran has rejected claims that a Bundeswehr employee arrested last week was passing information to the Islamic Republic. Media reports have suggested the suspect worked for Iranian intelligence for many years.

Iran's government has denied any connections to a German-Afghan national arrested this week in Germany, who has been accused of engaging in espionage on behalf of Tehran.

The state IRNA news agency cited a spokesman for Iran's Foreign Ministry as saying the country had never been in contact with the military consultant and translator.

The spokesman added that the arrest of the 50-year-old, known only as Abdul Hamid S., was an attempt by "enemies" of Iran to sabotage the Islamic Republic's relations with the European Union.

Read more: Former Israeli minister Gonen Segev to be jailed for spying for Iran

Germany's Federal Prosecutor's Office confirmed the arrest on Tuesday, saying the suspect was being held on suspicion of spying for Iranian intelligence.

The German newsmagazine Der Spiegel reported that he had access to sensitive information, including possible details of troop deployments in Afghanistan. It said he had worked for Iranian secret services for several years.

The Bundeswehr often uses native speakers to accompany troops on patrol in Afghanistan to enable communication with locals.

Tehran has frequently accused its archenemies Israel and the US of wanting to sabotage the 2015 Iran nuclear deal and the country's improved relationship with the EU, especially with Britain, France and Germany.

Read more: US arrested Iranian journalist without charge

Intelligence officials in Germany and Europe have raised fears about what they see as increasing espionage by Iran.

Germany's domestic intelligence agency in July reported that Iran had upped its cyberwarfare capabilities and posed a danger for German companies.

The German foreign ministry on Wednesday said it had "unequivocally expressed our great concern over the alleged agent activities," to Iran's ambassador in Berlin.

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mm/rc (DPA, Reuters)

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