March 21, 2017 | The Jerusalem Post

Iran Accused of Planning Attack on Head of French-Israel Business Group

Iran's Quds Force plotted with the aid of a paid Pakistani man to surveil –and possibly assassinate–the head of the French-Israeli chamber of commerce, according to revelations from a Monday court proceeding in Berlin and German media reports. The daily Berliner Zeitung reported that the 31-year-old Pakistani Syed Mustafa spied on the French-Israel business professor David Rouach who teaches at the elite  Ecole Supérieure de Commerce de Paris (ESCP)  and served as head of the French-Israeli chamber of commerce.

Quds Force, a US-classified terrorist entity, is part of Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and paid Mustafa at least 2,052 euros between July 2015 and July 2016. Rouach is expected to testify on Tuesday. The federal prosecutor Michael Greven said at an earlier proceeding that a collection of surveillance activities took place to prepare for possible attacks. Mustafa amassed information on Rouach from July until August 2015. German investigators seized more than 300 photographs and 20 videos from Mustafa. The video and photographic material showed the ESCP campus and various travel distances in connection with the college.

According to German prosecutors, Mustafa's assignment was to identify Israeli and Jewish institutions, as well as pro-Israel advocates, for possible attacks. Mustafa conducted espionage in Gemany, France and other unnamed western European countries. He monitored a German-Jewish newspaper's headquarters in Berlin, and Reinhold Robbe, the former head of the German-Israel Friendship Society. Robbe told the court “I consider the regime there [in Iran] to be one of the worst dictators on the planet.”

Mustafa delivered his dossiers to the IRGC. The criminal complaint said Mustafa had contact with a Quds Force agent named Mehmud since 2011. The Quds Force has a history of employing Pakistanis for their operations outside of Iran, said Greven. The trial started in early March and is slated to run until the end of the month.

Mustafa, who worked for the German Aerospace Center in the northern German city of Bremen, could face a prison term of three to three-and-a-half years.

Benjamin Weinthal is a research fellow at the Foundation for a Defense of Democracies. Follow him on Twitter @BenWeinthal


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