A Pakistani man accused of spying for Iran went on trial in Germany Wednesday, for allegedly searching out potential Israeli attack targets for the Revolutionary Guards.
The accused, named only as 31-year-old Haidar Syed M., remained silent — “out of fear,” according to his defense lawyer. He is accused of espionage “against Germany and another NATO member,” France, for the Quds Force, the foreign operations wing of the elite Revolutionary Guards.
Prosecutors charged he had compiled dossiers on possible attack targets — a German lawmaker who is the former head of a German-Israeli organization, and a French-Israeli professor of economics.
Investigators found detailed dossiers on the men and their daily routines, with hundreds of photos and video clips, the Berlin court was told. Those documents allegedly detailed the targets’ homes and work places, various access routes to them, as well as information on security guards, surveillance cameras and nearby police stations.
A representative of Germany’s domestic intelligence service, which handles counterespionage, said it was alerted to M. by a “reliable” source.
The service suspected the Quds Force was preparing for a possible future conflict with the United States and Israel, when it could hit targets in Europe in a form of “asymmetrical warfare.”
The Karachi-born M. came to Germany as a student in 2012 and most recently lived in the western city of Bremen. He had allegedly been in contact since 2011 with an Iranian named Mehmud who worked for the Quds Force, the court was told.
The Pakistani man had traveled to Iran at least twice, in October 2015 and February 2016, and received at least 2,052 euros ($2,166) for his intelligence activities.
He was arrested in July 2016 and faces up to three and a half years jail if found guilty.
The court has set seven hearings in the trial which is scheduled to run till late March.
On Monday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told an event commemorating the victims of a 1992 Iranian-sponsored terror attack against the Israeli embassy in Argentina that the Islamic Republic was the source of the vast majority of Israel’s security concerns.
“Iran is the greatest generator of terrorism in the world in the world and we need to to fight this terror because it is just one arm of Iranian aggression, which also seeks nuclear weapons and advances its ballistic missiles program,” Netanyahu said.
Tehran continues to destabilize the region and to threaten Israel with annihilation, he went on. “One of our defense officials estimates that more than 80 percent of our security problems emanate from Iran.”