German-bought crane not for missiles: Teheran
25 April 2005, TEHERAN - Teheran on Sunday denied any connection between a special crane purchased from Germany and Iran's missile programme.
25 April 2005
TEHERAN - Teheran on Sunday denied any connection between a special crane purchased from Germany and Iran's missile programme.
"This is a grotesque theory without any basis," foreign ministry spokesman Hamid-Reza Assefi told reporters in Teheran.
The German weekly Der Spiegel had reported in its latest edition that a slip-up in Germany's customs office had helped an Iranian company acquire a special crane which could be used in Iran's missile programme.
According to the magazine the crane was shipped out of Hamburg aboard the 'Hual Africa' on 7 April and German authorities held several crisis meetings to find a way to intercept the ship. At the end of last week the vessel was in Egypt's Port Said, Spiegel wrote.
Der Spiegel said the German federal prosecutor's office was investigating how the Teheran company Mizan Machine managed to acquire the special crane from the Liebherr company in southern Germany.
The report said customs authorities had received a special warning about Mizan Machine which was suspected of repeated purchases for Iran's weapons industry. However, the warning only reached customs agents after the Hual Africa had left Hamburg, the magazine said.
German authorities fear that the special crane, costing some EUR 600,000, can be used in Iranian production of Shahab-3 and Shahab-4 missiles.
Subject: German news