Austria, soft underbelly of sanctions

12/12/2012 IOL- Iran’s Centre for Innovation and Technology Cooperation, a body set up a decade ago by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, is using Austria as a hub for its sanctions-busting activities in Europe with Iranian diplomatic help, according to official French sources. 

Official Iranian reports, made public by the People’s Mujahideen Organisation of Iran assert that: “In Austria, banking and technology cooperation opportunities are considerable”. Perhaps it is more than a coincidence that in June 2012, after the establishment of a new sanctions register by theEuropean UnionHamid Reza Amirinia, the chairman of the Centre, paid a visit to Vienna where four Austrian and Iranian intermediaries organised meetings for him. He was accompanied by Ali Morteza Birang, his director of international affairs. “Until recently these activities were organised without the help of Iranian diplomacy,” the French source told Intelligence Online, in order to steer clear of the usual scrutiny that Iranian diplomats come under.

Recently, the Centre has begun working with the Iranian Foreign Ministry which has tasked the first officer of every foreign ministry to help it. Furthermore the diplomatic pouch has also been placed at the Centre’s disposition, enabling it to receive subsidies, since it does not have identified bank accounts in Austria.