Iranian and Turkish Spies Find Haven in Austria :: Middle East Forum & More Trending News


Austria’s Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution and Counterterrorism launched a brand new report in January, asserting Iran’s regime unfold its nefarious spy actions in the central European nation and Austria is “attractive” for such unhealthy actors as China, Russia, Iran and Turkey due to weak legal penalties for espionage.

According to the report dated for the 12 months 2021, “Over the years, the network of Iranian intelligence services has also spread in Austria. For civil domestic and foreign surveillance, the Ministry of Information (MOIS) is responsible. The military home and foreign intelligence services emerge from the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard (and is referred to as IRGC-IO – Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Intelligence Organization). The military special unit Quds Force also plays a not insignificant role, which, in addition to extraterritorial military operations, is specialized in obtaining intelligence information.”

The US authorities labeled the IRGC a international terrorist group in 2019. The European Parliament final week voted for a non-binding decision to sanction the IRGC as a terrorist entity. The EU’s high diplomat, Josep Borrell, mentioned on Monday the EU wants a court docket ruling that declares the IRGC engages in terrorist actions earlier than the 125,000 army drive will be proscribed a terrorist group.

The Austrian intelligence report mentioned cyber espionage in Austria was largely carried out by Russia, China and Iran.

In sharp distinction to earlier reviews that largely ignored Shi’ite terrorist and espionage actions from Iran, the brand new report devoted evaluation to the Islamic Republic.

According to the intelligence doc, international spy companies discover it “attractive” to function on Austrian nationwide territory due to “the very low threat of punishment. “The report famous the Austrian intelligence companies have, in distinction to European companies, weak intelligence gathering powers.”

Austria can also be a hotbed of spy exercise, based on the report, due to its “good geo-political situation” and location of various worldwide organizations, in addition to the financial energy of the Alpine county.

The Austrian Economic Chambers reported on its web site that in “the first half of 2022, Austria exported goods worth 98.1 million euros to Iran – an increase of +113.1 percent compared to the same period of the previous year.”

The enterprise group added that “In the year as a whole, Austria exported goods worth 117.8 million euros to Iran (+17.6 percent compared to the previous year).”

Is Austria a spying paradise?

Espionage in Austria takes place beneath the disguise of diplomacy in international embassies and consulates, famous the report. Spies for international nationals additionally function “in clubs, cultural centers, press agencies, airlines or other business locations,” wrote the Austrian intelligence officers.

“Austria is a spy paradise,” headlined the Austrian Broadcasting Corporation in its article on the brand new intelligence report.

Austria is a vital location for Turkey’s MIT intelligence service as a result of the big neighborhood of individuals of “Turkish origin” in Austria, famous the intelligence company report.

“The main focus of the Turkish intelligence services is particularly focused on critics of the regime and opponents and to clarify the Gülen movement and the PKK, since these are classified by the Turkish government as extremist or terrorist,” mentioned the intelligence report.

China’s spy operation, based on the report, is devoted to the gathering of knowledge on the “military capabilities of foreign military forces” as properly to securing “military-related scientific and technological information.”

The Austrian report mentioned that Russian intelligence has been working unchanged in Austria with “high intensity” for “some time.” The Russian espionage operation targets “the recruitment of employees in institutions of special interest to the Russian Federation.”

Benjamin Weinthal, a Middle East Forum writing fellow, reviews on Israel, Iran, Syria, Turkey and Europe for Fox News Digital. Follow him on Twitter at @BenWeinthal.

Iranian and Turkish Spies Find Haven in Austria :: Middle East Forum

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