Germany reprimands Iran for anti-Israel spying on its territory

Mustufa Haidar Syed-Naqfi at the start of his trial in Berlin in March of last year. (AP)
Updated 09 January 2018
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Germany reprimands Iran for anti-Israel spying on its territory

BERLIN: Germany said it had summoned Iran’s ambassador to reprimand Tehran against spying on individuals and groups with close ties to Israel, calling such acts a completely unacceptable breach of German law.
The move comes after the March conviction of a Pakistani man for spying for Iran in Germany went into force.
Mustufa Haidar Syed-Naqfi was convicted of gathering intelligence on Reinhold Robbe, the former head of the German-Israel Friendship Society, and an Israeli-French economics professor in Paris, for Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards.
The foreign ministry summoned the Iranian ambassador to deliver the unusually sharp rebuke once the German constitutional court rejected his appeal. The meeting took place on Dec. 22 but was not disclosed until now.
“Spying on people and institutions with special ties to the state of Israel on German soil is an egregious violation of German law,” a ministry official said.
The official said Philipp Ackermann, acting director of the foreign ministry’s political section, had told the Iranian ambassador that “such activities would not be tolerated and were completely unacceptable.”
News of the meeting comes days before the foreign ministers of Iran, Germany, France and Britain are due to meet in Brussels to discuss a 2015 landmark nuclear agreement with Iran, and growing concerns about Iran’s crackdown on anti-government protesters.
Germany, which helped negotiate the nuclear deal, has sought to balance its interest in expanding trade ties with Iran with its strong commitment to human rights.
It has played a key role in European efforts to persuade Washington to keep the nuclear accord in place, an issue that will come up again late this week, when US President Donald Trump must decide whether to reimpose oil sanctions lifted under the agreement.
Germany’s domestic intelligence service, which handles counterespionage, highlighted Iran’s spying activities in its annual report in July, noting that Tehran was focused heavily on Israeli or pro-Jewish targets.


British PM Theresa May announces resignation

Updated 18 min 30 sec ago
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British PM Theresa May announces resignation

  • She will resign as Conservative Party leader on June 7 with a leadership contest in the following week
  • She endured crises and humiliation in her effort to find a compromise Brexit deal that parliament could ratify

LONDON: British Prime Minister Theresa May on Friday said she would quit, triggering a contest that will bring a new leader to power who is likely to push for a more decisive Brexit divorce deal.
May set out a timetable for her departure: She will resign as Conservative Party leader on June 7 with a leadership contest in the following week.
“I will resign as leader of the Conservative and Unionist party on Friday, 7 June so that a successor can be chosen,” May said outside 10 Downing Street.
May, once a reluctant supporter of EU membership, who won the top job in the turmoil that followed the 2016 Brexit vote, steps down with her central pledges — to lead the United Kingdom out of the bloc and heal its divisions — unfulfilled.
She endured crises and humiliation in her effort to find a compromise Brexit deal that parliament could ratify, and bequeaths a deeply divided country and a political elite that is deadlocked over how, when or whether to leave the EU.
May’s departure will deepen the Brexit crisis as a new leader is likely to want a more decisive split, raising the chances of a confrontation with the European Union and a snap parliamentary election.
The leading contenders to succeed May all want a tougher divorce deal, although the EU has said it will not renegotiate the Withdrawal Treaty it sealed in November.