New investigations by the security authorities in Germany show that Iran is acting more and more aggressively abroad. Now the federal government could react. The closure of an “outpost of Tehran” probably only depends on the interior minister – and a court decision.
The federal government is about to ban the Islamic Center Hamburg (IZH). With the order, the coalition could increase the pressure on Iran, which, according to Western intelligence services, is increasingly aggressive abroad. According to the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, the IZH together with the Blue Mosque in Hamburg is, alongside the embassy, the “most important Iranian representation in Germany and an important Iranian propaganda center in Europe”. The aim should be the worldwide export of the Islamic revolution.
In addition to the IZH, the authorities are also concerned about the activities of the Iranian secret service Mois and the Revolutionary Guards. In extreme cases, Mois does not shy away from killing political opponents, German security experts believe. Only in the spring of this year the Federal Public Prosecutor published charges against a German-Iranian who is said to have been involved in two attempted arson attacks on Jewish institutions six months ago. According to the GBA, the man acted on behalf of “Iranian government agencies.”
The investigators assume that a former functionary of the Hells Angels biker gang, who fled to Tehran in 2021, commissioned the attempted attack. The former rocker boss, who acted as the mastermind, is said to be closely linked to Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guard.
Investigators are now targeting around 15 suspects close to the accused, who they attribute to a pro-Iranian cell. The public prosecutor’s office in Düsseldorf confirmed that proceedings were ongoing there. This had therefore previously been submitted by the GBA to the Attorney General’s Office. A spokesman said no information could be given about the details of the investigation.
For the opposition in Germany, the charges against the German-Iranian are renewed proof of the terrorist activities of the Revolutionary Guards. “This means that Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock’s claim that listing the Revolutionary Guards as a terrorist is not legally possible has finally become untenable,” said Norbert Röttgen, foreign policy spokesman for the CDU. “I expect that Ms. Baerbock will finally act accordingly and clearly campaign for the Revolutionary Guards to be listed as a terrorist organization in the EU.” The USA, Israel and Saudi Arabia have classified the Revolutionary Guards as a terrorist organization. The EU is hesitating, even though sanctions against individual members have recently been tightened.
In the dispute over the classification of the Islamic Center Hamburg (IZH) as an extremist organization, the oral hearing before the administrative court of the Hanseatic city ended two weeks ago. A decision by the court in the written procedure is now expected at the end of the month. The IZH is rejecting the ruling of the Hamburg Administrative Court against the classification of the State Office for the Protection of the Constitution as a suspected case. The IZH rejects the accusation that it is Islamist and controlled by Iran. The Hamburg Office for the Protection of the Constitution refers to Iranian documents in which the head of the IZH, Mohammad Mofatteh, who, according to the Office for the Protection of the Constitution, was once a member of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, is addressed as an “honored representative of the Supreme Leader”.
A representative of the Office for the Protection of the Constitution read a statement from the Federal Intelligence Service to the judge, according to which Mofatteh had served in 1991 “as a conscripted officer in the corps of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Army”. However, he had been seconded to another authority in a different capacity. In addition, Mofatteh’s public CVs have been sanitized “with the aim of presenting him as an independent Islamic scholar with no connection to the Iranian system or its institutions”. In Tehran there is “no separate religious and secular regime”. According to the Iranian interpretation, the aim of the Islamic revolution is a global theocracy. The IZH is trying to exert influence through various associations and institutions in order to work in the interests of the Tehran regime. He also referred to information from the federal government that “government funds flow to the IZH”.
The German Interior Ministry recently did not want to comment on a possible IZH ban. “Otherwise,” said a spokesman, “there would be a risk that those potentially affected would act accordingly, thereby impairing the effectiveness of operational official measures or thwarting them.” Last November, the Bundestag voted to review the ban.
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