German police have arrested a 50-year-old Afghan-German man suspected of passing military secrets to Iran, Germany’s federal prosecutor’s office announced.
The man, identified only as Abdul Hamid S., is expected to go before a judge later Tuesday.
“Abdul Hamid S. is strongly suspected of having worked for a foreign intelligence agency. The suspect was a language expert and cultural adviser for the Bundeswehr (German armed forces),” the federal prosecutor said in a statement. “In this capacity, he is believed to have passed insights to an Iranian intelligence agency.”
Hamid S. was arrested in Rhineland-Palatinate state in south-west Germany and. He is suspected of having worked for Iran for several years, according to German news site Spiegel Online. He had access to highly classified material including troop deployment information and specific missions in Afghanistan.
The German military often uses native-born interpreters to accompany troops on patrol in Afghanistan, Reuters reported.
The news of Hamid S comes as intelligence officials across Europe have raised concerns about what they see as Tehran’s growing espionage attempts through cyberattacks.
In July, Germany's domestic intelligence agency reported that Iran had expanded its cyberattack capabilities and posed a danger to German companies and research institutions.
In January, the foreign ministry summoned Iran's ambassador to reprimand Tehran for spying on individuals and groups with close ties to Israel.
The allegations of espionage and cyberattacks by Iran come at a time when Europe is working to preserve the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran.
Iran’s 2015 accord with world leaders caps the level to which it is able to enrich uranium. President Trump pulled out of the historic deal last May, calling it flawed. Instead, the U.S. reimposed sanctions on Iran.