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Cablegate: (S) Germany Planning to Recall Computers Connected with Iran's Nuclear Program

VZCZCXRO3650
PP RUEHBC RUEHDE RUEHDIR RUEHKUK RUEHTRO
DE RUEHRL #1297/01 2921550
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
P 191550Z OCT 09
FM AMEMBASSY BERLIN
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5513
INFO RUCNFRG/FRG COLLECTIVE
RUCNIRA/IRAN COLLECTIVE
RUEHGG/UN SECURITY COUNCIL COLLECTIVE
RUEHII/VIENNA IAEA POSTS COLLECTIVE
RUEHAD/AMEMBASSY ABU DHABI 0185
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 1041
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 0354
RUEHDE/AMCONSUL DUBAI 0113
RUEHRL/USDAO BERLIN GE
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS
RHEHAAA/WHITE HOUSE WASHINGTON DC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC
RUCXONI/ONI WASHINGTON DC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHINGTON DC
RUETIAA/NSACSS FORT GEORGE G MEADE MD
RUEHDIR/IRAN RPO DUBAI
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC
RHMFISS/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL

S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 02 BERLIN 001297

SIPDIS

STATE FOR EUR/CE PETER SCHROEDER STATE FOR EUR/PRA MATT HARDIMAN STATE FOR EUR/CE, EUR/PRA, ISN/CPI, AND T E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/19/2034

TAGS: PARM PREL MNUC IR AE UK CH GM

SUBJECT: (S) GERMANY PLANNING TO RECALL COMPUTERS CONNECTED WITH IRAN'S NUCLEAR PROGRAM REF: A. BERLIN 487 B. BERLIN 406 C. STATE 31434 BERLIN 00001297 001.2 OF 002

Classified By: Global Affairs Unit Chief Don L. Brown for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).

1. (S//NF) SUMMARY: After they confirm the place of origin, Germany is planning to take back over one hundred boxes of Siemens industrial computers/equipment that were purchased by an entity associated with Iran's nuclear program and are currently in a secure storage facility in the UAE. Germany reported that Emirati authorities recently conducted a detailed inspection of these computers and sent the results to German authorities, who then relayed the information to Siemens. Germany expects to hear from Siemens about the origin of the computers in the coming days, but strongly suspects that they are German. In that event, Germany will ask Siemens to repay the original Chinese purchaser and have the computers returned to Siemens in Germany. Germany does not anticipate that the UAE would allow the computers to be forwarded to Iran. END SUMMARY

AFTER SIX MONTHS, THE UAE FINALLY INSPECTS THE COMPUTERS --------------------------------------------- -----------

2. (S//NF) On October 13, EconOff met with MFA Export Control Desk Officer, Nancy Reck, and received the latest situation report on the above mentioned Siemens computers case. For the past six months, Reck said both Iran and the Tianjin Penghao Commercial and Trade Company have exerted intense pressure on the UAE to forward the secured Siemens computers to the Iranian end-user, while Germany "repeatedly" pressed for a formal inspection of the items. Reck said the inspection finally occurred sometime last week on a select sample of the 111 secured boxes and Germany now has all the information it needs for an investigation. Reck said German export control authorities should know "very soon" about the origin and are already planning the next stage of action. Reck claimed that the pictures released to Germany back in April from the original inspection lacked detail and only showed "pictures of cardboard boxes with Siemens labels", which she said were simply not good enough.

RECALL THE COMPUTERS TO GERMANY AND PAY BACK THE CHINESE --------------------------------------------- -----------

3. (S//NF) If the computers turn out to be of German origin, Reck said German authorities will instruct Siemens to pay back the Chinese buyer and recall the computers back to Germany at Siemens' cost. Reck said "obviously Siemens will not be thrilled about this", but it would not have much choice in the matter. In Reck's opinion, should a refund be given to the Chinese buyer, this money would likely find its way right back to Iran.

SIEMENS NEEDS TO BE MORE CAREFUL ABOUT WHOM THEY SELL TO --------------------------------------------- ----------

4. (S//NF) Reck emphasized that these computers are not listed or controlled exports and that Siemens technically did nothing wrong by exporting these computers to China. She added that Siemens exports hundreds of thousands of industrial computers annually to numerous customers. However, she said that it is still Siemens' responsibility to seek assurance that dual-use exports not be re-exported to prohibited end-users. In the future, Reck said if the BERLIN 00001297 002.2 OF 002 Tianjin Penghao Commercial and Trade Company were to try to procure these items again, Siemens is now on notice to either deny the procurement request outright or to apply for a clearance to export (Nullbescheid) from the German Export Control Authority (BAFA).

COMMENT -------

5. (S//NF) While Reck kept referring to the origin of the Siemens computers as "still in question", she gave us the distinct impression the computers were of German origin. She spoke about the UAE as being very protective about Dubai's status as a "free port zone" and the UAE's concern that this incident could tarnish Dubai's status in the eyes of its Iranian customers. She indicated that Germany's dealings with the UAE on this case revealed clear divides within the UAE government on Iranian freight forwarding, with some pushing for stronger commitments to international obligations, while others remaining steadfast in their protective posture toward Iranian customers. Murphy
0 10/19/2009 4598 PARM,PREL,MNUC,IR,AE,UK,CH,GM (S) GERMANY PLANNING TO RECALL COMPUTERS CONNECTED WITH IRAN'S NUCLEAR PROGRAM

After they confirm the place of origin, Germany is planning to take back over one hundred boxes of Siemens industrial computers/equipment that were purchased by an entity associated with Iran's nuclear program and are currently in a secure storage facility in the UAE. Germany reported that Emirati authorities recently conducted a detailed inspection of these computers and sent the results to German authorities, who then relayed the information to Siemens. Germany expects to hear from Siemens about the origin of the computers in the coming days, but strongly suspects that they are German. In that event, Germany will ask Siemens to repay the original Chinese purchaser and have the computers returned to Siemens in Germany. Germany does not anticipate that the UAE would allow the computers to be forwarded to Iran.

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