Wednesday, March 21st | 5 Nisan 5778


Be in the know!

Get our exclusive daily news briefing.

February 27, 2015 9:42 am

Leaked South African Intelligence Docs Reveal Iranian Efforts to Bypass Sanctions Using Civilian Covers

avatar by David Daoud

Email a copy of "Leaked South African Intelligence Docs Reveal Iranian Efforts to Bypass Sanctions Using Civilian Covers" to a friend

Iranian Intelligence has been using civilian covers, like rug businesses, to run their operations abroad. PHOTO: Wikipedia.

Recently published classified documents from South African intelligence have shed light on Tehran’s efforts to set down roots in Africa, Israel’s NRG reported on Wednesday.

While the leaked documents note that South African intelligence does not see Iran as a great threat to their country, and points out that Tehran is not trying to import its Revolution or establish Shi’a Islam in South Africa, there are other efforts that the Islamic Republic is undertaking to take advantage of resources in South Africa to bypass international sanctions, and these actions have local intelligence worried, according to the report.

South African intelligence has devoted a large amount of resources to monitor Iran’s activities in the country. This is despite the fact South Africa still wants to maintain good relations with Iran, but also finds itself in a bind to maintain its friendly relations with Western powers.

Reports sent from Israel’s Mossad and Britain’s MI6 detail how Iran is using local businesses to hide its acquisition of materials necessary for developing nuclear weapons capability.

South African intelligence also collected reports on local Iranian agents, and suspects members of the diplomatic corps, journalists and members of the Iranian business community in Africa of operating as agents of the Islamic Republic. The South African report even notes that many Persian rug stores have been used as covers for secret intelligence activities by the Iranian government.

The report discusses one incident in which one agent who was under the influence of alcohol admitted that he was a member of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, and that he used his rug store as a “meeting place with Iranians, including the country’s diplomatic staff in South Africa.”

One 2010 document shows that Iranian intelligence had been using various other civilian covers, including an Iranian news agency, the country’s national airline, its shipping services, and much more.

Among other things, these Iranian spies were making contact with citizens of the country considered to be extremists, and who maintained ties with Hezbollah and Hamas cells in certain target countries, or who recruited people to join them.

One of the more troubling details was the shipment of arms to Iranian embassies, “both the Ministry of Intelligence and the revolutionary committees have used diplomatic tags in order to send weapons to Iranian embassies overseas,” the report said. These weapons are “then stored in the embassies, with full knowledge of the local ambassadors.”

The next step, according to the intelligence report, was to train terrorist cells in various missions against specific targets, which are usually “Israeli or American.” By using local terrorist cells, South African intelligence noted, the Iranians can claim that they are not involved in the subsequent incidents.

The report noted that this, for example, was how between 1989 and 2002, 24 agents carried out accurate and well-planned assassinations in Europe and Turkey, which were personally approved by the Iranian president or the country’s spiritual leader.

Share this Story: Share On Facebook Share On Twitter Email This Article

Let your voice be heard!

Join the Algemeiner
  • Already they have Mr Isssaias afeworki the president of Eritrea on their side. He had the grievance that the islands in the red sea were not given to him. Now the houthis the iranian stooges are controlling yemen. So a very bad clique has formed in the babel mandab areas. Hence the african leaders, Saudi arabia and israel have to throttle Iran

  • Dean de Chazal

    DOOM doesn’t live in a tin

  • Dean de Chazal

    give Zuma a lucky packet and you can do whatever

  • Karsten Bannier

    It’s pretty ironic mixing the words “SA government” with ” intelligence” in the same sentence.
    I sometimes wonder if I’m not living in a time warp in this country !!

  • Tony Minchew

    It is amazing how much more we would all know if we did just one thing
    By doing this one thing, we would know:
    Islamist of every stripe are striving to be everywhere in the world. Most do not know why.
    There is a force that is behind this movement that will not stop. It does not care for anyone but itself and has been that way since it fell from its exalted position.

    The force cannot change its destination, but it will take all that he can with him.

    Read your Bible people.

  • John C.

    It’s pretty clear what Obama’s goals are. He wants Iran to become a nuclear power to counter Israel’s nuclear capabilities. He has worked to ensure that Israel looks like the bad guys, as in the recent boycott of Israel’s President’s visit to Washington. Obama and his jacks claim that it was wrong for Republicans to invite a foreign leader, who is at the center of the issues being negotiated with Iran. Well, wasn’t it the Democrats who ran all over the world, in an attempt to undercut Bush during the Iraq War. They even declared the war “lost” while we had Troops in the ground. The weakness of the Republicans is going to lead us right in to the third world war. Israel will not allow Iran to obtain nuclear weapons. They will act on gheir own, if they must and if so, it will be on. Just as with Hitler, Obama is coddling the Muslims and running interference for Iran. Shame on our elected officials for not maKing a stand.

    • Efram

      Shame, especially, on congress. Instead of cutting off Home Security, they should be blocking Obama’s sweetheart deal to Iran. Once Obama gives his go ahead, Iran will be there in months, unless stopped by Israel. And Obama has threatened to shoot down any Israeli plane which tries to destroy Iran’s nuclear weapons program, a program that is at the heart of Obama’s dream.

    • you hit it right on the head

  • Cappon86

    All this report wrirtten by useless Isreal intelligent are fake. They are just looking for a way to destroy the good relationship between the two country.

    • Efram

      Spoken by a die hard bigot and Antisemite. I only hope that once Iran sends its first nuclear weapon to the great Satan, that you are its first victim.

  • Sofia

    This is very frightening – the spread of Iran the deadly threads that are spreading around the globe. In 1989, I was on an EL Al plane that landed in Istanbul for a visit. Next to us was An 747 Iranian Plane that landed. Furthermore, buses full of Iranians were arriving at night – and a few years later, the first Muslim Government has been placed in power, and has been there ever since. Turkey has not been the same since. It takes about 20 years, but through careful planning, one can take over a Country. Its happened in Europe and now South Africa and other places.
    Obama should open his eyes to Iran’s Intentions.

    • Efram

      Obama KNOWS Iran’s intentions, and FULLY SUPPORTS them.

  • Jose Duran

    Irán has hostile intenciones towards the west, And considers all those oponed to their revolutionary intenciones as free game.

  • Julian Clovelley

    If Iran can enrich to 5% and 20% then it already has the technology to enrich to weapons grade of 90%. All this talk of backroom conferences and materiel sales amongst the Persian Carpets has the flavour of Graham Greene’s novel, and Alec Guinness’s film, “Our Man In Havana”

    So long as we can fill media with ongoing tales of conspiracy the dynamics of the problem can be made to appear different from what they really are

    The sad truth is that if Iran chooses to build as wasteful, provocative and useless an artefact as a nuclear weapon, as Israel long ago already did, then it no doubt will. Building the weapon requires motivation more than it requires technology. As nations who until recently cooked up nothing more complicated than a Rogan Josh have demonstrated, it requires more actual “effort” than recipe. Enrichment technology is some seventy years old

    The motivation is always the same for any nation that makes atomic bombs. It is fear – not offensive aggression, just fear. The real problem with Iran is that dialogue has broken down. Instead of being angry, just for a moment be sad about it. Iran is part of the area that was the birthplace of civilisations. It has a fine and amazing culture going back thousands of years, way beyond even the origins of Judaism. It’s people are like any other people, for the the mot part kind and hospitable. They aren’t weird fanatics – for the most part they are normal ordinary people living as best they can, in an economy that for most people is far from prosperous, under a government many fear and dislike..

    It is the dialogue between peoples that has broken down and this breakdown has created the present miserable mess. Instead of threat and anger what is needed is to restore the conversation. All parties in the middle east have grounds for being upset about how the present situation was arrived at. The incompetence of the European nations, including Turkey, in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, is almost beyond belief, leaving an inheritance of impossible and meaningless boundaries drawn on isolated sheets of paper. the allocation of territory was often unworkable and worsened the tension – including the European habit of treating vast areas as “Terra Nullius”- the daftest of all political notions.

    Who would have thought that in 1989, nations locked in a dangerous Cold War would have learnt to talk to each other, and remove the Iron Curtain between them? – but they did. It can be done. The adjustment is a process still underway, with dangerous errors being made out of impatience along some of the old boundaries. But reconciliation and the restoration of dialogue is possible

    For international relations to progress the old nationalisms have to die. You cannot hope to have accord when negotiating parties are dominated by nationalist myths – most especially when these are also spiritual concepts of the individual parties. That is why it is so important in international relations for there to be separation between religion and state. Netanyahu’s obsession with a Judaic(sic) State is as obstructive to negotiation as Islamic dominance is within the Iranian State.

    The present situation in the Middle East reads as Israel threatening Iran with a first strike to take out nuclear industry, which Netanyahu constantly hints at but never openly advocates – and no doubt will scout round in his potentially inflammatory speech to Congress. But again he is not talking or hinting at the real dynamic

    For the world, concerned about the potential triggering affect of Middle East conflict ,the vital dynamic is the failure of both sides to come with clean hands to the negotiating table. Iran is held back by Islamist extremism ,and Israel is held back by Zionist extremism that includes a religious determination to act in an imperialist fashion, annexing the West Bank, and perhaps Gaza, to create a Greater Israel. It is a lunatic worldview. What is sought in terms of the unification of Palestine, including Israel, could only actually come about through the abolition of hostility, the creation of a multicultural federation – and for that to happen the secular would have to take over everywhere from the religious. That would take many, many years.

    The world is saying it is time you fixed it. Do what it takes to have genuinely clean hands then sit down and talk about how the entire region can be changed to fulfil the dreams of all its ordinary, hard working, peoples. No-one in the west is about to join a new crusade – what the people seek is the restoration of normal friendly relations

    • Efram

      I do not know why Algemeiner permits Jew haters to post on this site. You can pull your trite and false paradigm, but, unlike Israel, the USSR, India, Pakistan, and all the others who have nuclear weapons, Iran has stated it will use them. As Israel is its first target, Israel, whom you obviously loathe, will be the first to be annihilated. And the great Satan will be next. Iran will become the first nuclear power to use the weapons offensively. I only hope that you and yours are their first victims.

    • Francis

      This is why determining whether hostility toward non-Muslims is central to Islam or just the result of a particular faction that is now ascendant in the form of the Islamic Revolution (aka Iran), Muslim Brotherhood, Wahhabis, various other Salafis, Islamic State, Boko Haram, etc. and etc. is critical.

      If these factions represent the authentic Islam, then their survival is incompatible with the continued existence of the Western world and what is broadly understood as modern culture.

      Allowing one of these groups to have nuclear weapons, as Obama proposes through his conduct of the nuclear negotitations (right now the only question still unanswered is when they will be enabled to get them) is thus suicidal for the West, which included the United States, at least until the Obama Administration.

      Israel is, and has always been, on the front line between the Islamic world and the West, and has acted to defend the West. It is for this purpose that Netanyahu is coming to speak to Congress, and all citizens of the Western world should be grateful that he has done so.

    • Lynne T

      The only real lunatic around here is the one blind to the real regional hegemones, Iran and IS.

  • Scott

    Does the US Administration simply want to deny Iran’s aggressive terrorism until it gets it’s way? If so, (which seems apparent), then why?

    Who IS Barack Hussein Obama?

    • Ivan Gur-Arie

      I voted for the man twice and now ask the same question Who is Barak Obama? It is not the same man I voted for and if he is, then he certainly is a duplicitous SOB, a fraud and a liar. I now feel the world is a worse place because of his ineptness, cowardice and stupidity. HE reacts like a child to serious questions. That is our President.

    • If people can’t see through bho and only think he is stupid are totally blind to his agenda from the very beginning.

      • Efram

        Absolutely correct. Obama is very intelligent. He knows EXACTLY what he is doing.

    • Efram

      A committed jihadist.