Germany probes technology shipments to Iran: report

Sat Dec 12, 2009 11:14am EST
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FRANKFURT (Reuters) - German authorities are investigating shipments of high technology to Iran to see if they may have violated export control laws, Der Spiegel magazine reported Saturday without citing sources for its information.

One case involved 16 million euros ($23.56 million) worth of turbocompressors found by customs inspectors in Hamburg that investigators believe could be used in Iran's missile program, the magazine reported.

The shipment apparently came from a Siemens AG SIEGn.DE office in Sweden and was bound for an Iranian customer, it said.

The other case centered on computers that the British navy discovered on a Chinese ship near Dubai and bound for an Iranian company. The magazine said German industrial group Siemens had originally sent the computers, which can be used to help run nuclear plants and other purposes, to an address in China.

The economy ministry in Berlin was not immediately available for comment on the story, while a Siemens spokesman did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

Spiegel had quoted a Siemens spokesman as saying: "Our business activities in Iran serve exclusively civilian purposes and are in line with international law."

Iran's nuclear program has been a bone of contention with the West, which suspects it may aim to make bombs.

(Reporting by Michael Shields; Editing by Angus MacSwan)