Copenhagen, Denmark — A German-Iranian professor at a technical university in Norway was charged Wednesday with violating sanctions on Iran by inviting four visiting researchers from the Islamic Republic and giving them access to a laboratory.
A Norwegian prosecutor said visiting researchers had access to knowledge that could be useful to Iran’s nuclear program.
Norwegian broadcaster NRK reported that during the period from February 2018 to 2019, the professor, who was not identified, invited four Iranian researchers to NTNU University in Trondheim, the Scandinavian country’s third largest city. The length of stay for guests varies.
“The serious point here is that the people of Iran had access to knowledge, and this is the kind of knowledge that could be useful for Iran’s nuclear program. We don’t say it is, but the potential threat here is serious, Prosecutor Frederick Ranke told NRK.
Ranke said the professor was accused of violating Iran’s sanctions, export control rules and Norway’s data breach law. If found guilty, he could face up to 10 years in prison.
Norway, a non-EU member, has complied with all UN Security Council resolutions on Iran’s nuclear program and has supported EU restrictive measures against Iran for many years.
According to his Norwegian lawyer, the professor denies wrongdoing. Lawyer Brynjulf Risnes told NRK that the client has left Norway, but is willing to return to stand trial.
“Nothing in the information they have found and the projects they have worked on would enable them to contribute to the nuclear industry in any way,” Risnes told NRK.
NRK said Norway’s domestic security agency PST suspects the professor contributed to the data breach by giving others unauthorized access to computer systems.
The actual data breach occurred when a given program—by one of the guest researchers—was installed. According to Ranke, he could then recover the data, even if it was not affiliated with NTNU.
Bjarne Foss, head of the Department of Engineering Cybernetics at NTNU, told the university newspaper that the professor and Iranian guest researchers “used a specialized laboratory, called the Nano-Mechanical Lab, relatively intensive in a relatively short period of time.”
The paper said that advanced analysis of the properties of various metal alloys can be performed in the laboratory, such as their strength and hardness.
Knowing this, university officials contacted PST in early 2019, Universitetsavisa said.
This News Originally From – The Epoch Times