Iranian ‘spy’ to be tried in Germany

German prosecutors said Wednesday they are bringing charges against an alleged Iranian "secret agent" accused of illegally procuring weapons equipment.

From 2002 to 2006 the man, identified only as Saeed Sadeghi E. in a prosecutors’ statement, is accused of obtaining in Germany around €600,000 ($847,000) in raw materials, machinery and spare parts. The items were for Iran’s Defence Industries Organisation, which German authorities have said is responsible for state armaments production and using “secret service methods” to acquire goods and information from abroad.

Exporting such items is banned, so the the 52-year-old allegedly lived in Düsseldorf but set up a dummy company under a false name in Switzerland which he used to order from German suppliers. He duped the firms into accepting orders by saying that they were meant for his Swiss firm or to sell on to reputable customers in other countries outside the European Union, prosecutors said.

Instead of having them delivered to Switzerland he had a Bavarian-based freight company collect the items and ship them to Iran — without informing German customs that they were destined not for Switzerland but for the Islamic republic.

The man, who has joint German and Iranian citizenship, has been in custody in Germany since November 2006. He faces 29 counts of breaching export laws and working as a secret agent.