- Thursday, 03 February 2011 06:00
The Daily Telegraph
Family cars made by Fiat, Peugeot and Renault are being used as missile platforms by the Iranian armed forces because of their difficulty obtaining proper military vehicles, leaked cables show.
By Matthew Moore
Mossad, the Israeli security service, was so worried about Tehran adapting cars for its missile programme that it urged the US to put pressure on manufacturers to stop their vehicles getting into the hands of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard.
The Israelis raised their concerns at a high-level intelligence briefing with US officials in October 2007, during which they produced photographs of Iranian missile systems being towed by — and mounted on — a range of civilian vehicles. towed by — and mounted on — a range of civilian vehicles. The “runarounds” commandeered by the Iranians also included cars made by Mercedes, Toyota and Honda.
According to an account of the meeting written by Marc J Sievers, then the US political officer in Tel Aviv, the Israelis also expressed fears that French car manufacturers could provide unwitting support for Tehran’s efforts to build and operate weapons of mass destruction. He wrote: “The Mossad representative noted that two large car manufacturers, Renault and Peugeot, are manufacturing cars in Iran. He urged that the US make the case to them that their activities were contributing to Iran’s WMD program.
“He acknowledged that legally they are not doing anything wrong, but it might be worthwhile to show them how their business is helping proliferators.”
US officials replied that more would be achieved by asking the manufacturers to ensure none of their investments benefited the Revolutionary Guard, Iran’s military elite, than by ordering them to halt production in the country.