Tehran, April 24, IRNA-Iran rejected Sunday that it had bought ancillary parts from Germany for its missile program as it rapped the Europeans for making equivocal gestures toward trade with Tehran.
"This is a baseless claim and theory. It is unclear how crane equipment can be used in Shahab missiles," Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Assefi said.
The claim was made by the Germany weekly Der Spiegel, citing German prosecutors as having alleged that German prosecutors were investigating a firm in Tehran, suspected of buying parts for use in its missile project.
According to the journal, due to be issued Monday, an Iranian company blacklisted by the German authorities bought a crane to help in the manufacture of Shahab missiles.
The paper identified the Iranian company as Mizan Machine, alleging that it had paid the Liebherr company in southern Germany 600,000 euros last August to buy the crane.
Customs authorities reportedly were not told about the deal until the freighter transporting the crane had left Hamburg in northern Germany for the Middle East, Der Spiegel claimed.
German authorities, the magazine said, had tried to get the ship stopped, with the freighter reported to be at Port Said in Egypt at the mouth of the Suez Canal at the weekend.
Assefi described German authorities' statements as 'unwarranted'.
"Iran enjoys industrial cooperation with all countries and Germany is among Iran's economic partners.
"One of our criticisms of the Europeans is that on the one hand they impose restrictive and deterrent measures while on the other, they talk about free trade; we think these statements, apropos of those measures, are not justified and defensible at all," he said.
Iran stresses that its missile program is purely defensive.
Last September, Iran made a successful test of an upgraded version of the Shahab-3 medium-range ballistic missile, with Defense Minister Ali Shamkhani announcing that Iran has now acquired an 'effective deterrent power' to confront its enemies in the region.
Military experts have said the Shahab-3 missile is capable of striking Israel or any other enemy target in the region.
The test came as Israel's Arrow missile defense system, designed to counter threats such as those by the Shahab-3, passed its first live test in July with the downing of a Scud missile off the coast of California.
The Arrow-2 missile system, however, failed to destroy the detachable warhead of an incoming missile fired by a US Air Force aircraft in a test off the coast of California.
News agencies further said an advanced Israeli spy satellite meant to boost the Zionist state's surveillance over Iran had plunged into the sea after a malfunction on liftoff. The crash was seen a major setback to Israel's attempts to upgrade methods of gathering intelligence on Iran.
Tehran, however, repudiated US Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld's allegations that Iran may be working to develop missiles capable of reaching the United States. Rumsfeld had named Iran among countries which were allegedly working to develop and deploy missiles capable of reaching the United States.
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