Iran has dismissed reports that Germany summoned its charge d’affairs over Berlin’s arrest of a German-Afghan dual national accused of spying for Tehran.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi told reporters on Monday that while the acting Iranian envoy had stopped at the German foreign ministry, local media reports that the visit was in any way related to the espionage case were false.
“We are not surprised to hear such news amid fake security accusations by those who seek to harm ties between Iran and Europe at this critical stage,” Qassemi said.
Last week German media reported that a 50-year-old Afghan-German dual national who worked for the German military had been arrested on suspicion of transferring sensitive military data to Tehran.
Germany’s federal prosecutor’s office identified the man as Abdul Hamid S. and said he had been remanded in custody pending an investigation.
The German defense ministry did not confirm the reports but said it was aware of an ongoing espionage case involving a member of the military.
One report specifically claimed that the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) had informed Germany of the alleged spy case.
The espionage allegation followed a decision by the European Union to put two Iranians and an Iranian intelligence unit on its terror list. Tehran has condemned the move, saying it was based on fake claims that Tehran was seeking to carry out terrorist operation on European soil.
Iran and Europe have been working on a solution to protect trade ties from economic sanctions imposed by US President Donald Trump on Tehran after abandoning a 2015 nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
“We have repeatedly said that Iran’s long and lasting ties with many European countries, specially the European signatories (the UK, France and Germany) of the JCPOA, has enemies who wouldn’t spare any effort to strain these relations,” Qassemi said.
Germany bans Iran airline: Report
On Monday, news agencies said Berlin had banned an Iranian airline from its airspace as a result of US pressures.
German authorities revoked the landing rights of Iran’s Mahan Air “due to suspicions that it was being used for military purposes” Reuters said, citing what it called an unnamed German official.
Upon announcing his decision to leave the JCPOA, trump said last May that he would keep pressuring Tehran until it halted developing ballistic missiles for defensive purposes and rolled back its regional influence.
Iranian military advisers have long been in Syria, providing combat advice to the Syrian government forces fighting a war against foreign-backed militants.
The advisory mission began after an official request from Damascus. However, Washington which is running its own military campaign in Syria without a mandate from the UN or Damascus deems Iranian presence as dangerous to Israel.
The unnamed German official reported claimed Monday that Mahan flights had been used to carry weapons and equipment to Syria.
In September, Richard Grenell, the US ambassador to Berlin, called on Germany to stop cooperation with Mahan.
“Mahan Air has routinely flown fighters and materiel to Syria to prop up the Assad regime,” an embassy press release stated.
“Why is Mahan Air allowed to fly into Munich and Duesseldorf,” he asked on Twitter. “I’m going to keep asking every day.”