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Did Mossad bomb European companies in effort to stop Pakistani nuclear bombs? 

The German and Swiss companies also reportedly played a crucial role in the development of Iran’s nuclear program

Illustrative image of the Pakistani flag (Photo: REUTERS/Akhtar Soomro)

Israel’s intelligence agency Mossad reportedly bombed and threatened Swiss and German companies that actively aided the advancement of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons program in the 1980s, according to the Swiss daily paper Neue Zürcher Zeitung

The purpose of Mossad’s alleged operations against the European companies was to prevent the Islamic Republic of Pakistan from acquiring nuclear weapons. 

“The suspicion that the Mossad might be behind the attacks and threats soon arose. For Israel, the prospect that Pakistan, for the first time, could become an Islamic state with an atomic bomb posed an existential threat,” stated the Swiss paper. 

In addition, the paper reported that there was a close Pakistan-Iranian nuclear cooperation and that German and Swiss companies also played a crucial role in the development of Iran’s nuclear program. 

Officially, the unfamiliar Organization for the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons in South Asia claimed responsibility for the bombings against the Swiss and German companies. However, Swiss historian Adrian Hänni who is behind the explosive Neue Züricher Zeitung Mossad story believes that Israeli intelligence was likely behind the attacks while admitting that there is still no “smoking gun” evidence to directly link Mossad to the bombings. 

The murky story about Pakistan’s nuclear program reportedly involved Abdul Qadeer Khan, the father of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal who travelled across Europe in the 1980s to acquire the necessary technology for nuclear weapons. The Swiss paper reported that Khan met in Switzerland with an Iranian delegation led by Masud Naraghi, the chief of Iran’s nuclear energy commission. The story also involved German engineers Heinz Mebus and Gotthard Lerch who met with Khan in Switzerland and later in Dubai. 

European governments and companies have played a controversial key role in aiding different regimes in the Middle East with military technologies. In the 1960s, German scientists who had developed V1 and V2 rockets for Nazi Germany assisted the radical Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser in developing missiles that threatened the Jewish state. 

Consequently, Israeli Mossad responded by launching Operation Damocles, which targeted the German scientists who eventually left Egypt and the missile threat was thereby averted. 

In the 1970s, France assisted the Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein in building the Osiraq nuclear reactor outside Baghdad. The French-Iraqi nuclear deal was part of a wider lucrative trade for French companies involved in Iraq. After Paris ignored Israel’s warnings that the Iraqi nuclear reactor constituted an existential threat and diplomatic solutions had been exhausted, the Israel Air Force eventually bombed Iraq’s nuclear reactor in 1981. German companies also played a prominent role in Iraq’s quest for weapons of mass destruction including chemical weapons. 

While Jerusalem has no official relations with Pakistan and Israel would have likely preferred a Pakistan without a nuclear arsenal, Pakistan has never threatened to wipe the Jewish state off the map. 

By contrast, Iran has repeatedly threatened to destroy Israel, which only increases the urgency to prevent Tehran from acquiring nuclear weapons. Israel’s new government has so far indicated that it will not stand in the way of a potential diplomatic breakthrough in the nuclear negotiations between Iran and the West. 

However, Jerusalem is quickly losing patience and has increasingly stated that, if necessary, it will act alone against the Iranian nuclear threat. 

At a press briefing on Monday, Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said Israel was not opposed to a “good deal” with the Iranian regime. 

“The prime minister, defense minister and I said that we are not against any agreement; a good deal is a good thing. “There is an intense discussion of what a good deal entails. In that discussion, we are at the table. The world, including the involved parties, is listening – including this morning,” Lapid told reporters. 

However, Lapid stressed at the same time that the talks in Vienna “won’t reach an optimal result as far as we’re concerned, but we are always working with the people involved to improve the result for Israel.”

In other words, Israel does not believe that diplomacy will stop Iran’s race towards the nuclear bomb but is still willing to exhaust all diplomatic efforts before potentially considering alternative solutions. 

Read more: NUCLEAR
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