Finance Min. drafts bill forbidding trade with Iran

Regulations, drafted after revelations of Ofer Brothers sale of oil tanker, bans trade conducted through third parties.

August 15, 2011 01:59
1 minute read.
A ZIM cargo ship.

ZIM cargo ship 311. (photo credit: Courtesy)

The Finance Ministry presented proposed regulations to the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on Sunday that would forbid trade with Iran conducted through a third party.

The regulations, drafted over two months after it was found that the Ofer Brothers Group had sold an oil tanker to the Republic of Iran Shipping Lines, would forbid Israelis to invest in companies that do business with Iran.

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The three-page document was presented to the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee in a meeting that was closed to reporters.

The committee will vote on the regulations later this week, after the proposed rules are revised.

Shuki Friedman, representing the Prime Minister’s Office, said “the new regulations were meant to be as similar as possible to the regulations in the US.”

Currently, Israeli companies may not do business with Iran. The new regulations would forbid the same thing from occurring through a third party. Any international firm that did business with Iran would be included on a list of companies that Israelis may not contact, unless they have specific permission from the prime minister.

The list will be published in Hebrew- and English-language newspapers, as well as on the Finance Ministry website.

The regulations emphasize the prevention of any kind of energy sales or business that could be directly or indirectly connected to nuclear proliferation.

The new regulations are not limited in time and apply to any amount of money.

MK Arye Eldad (National Union) said he was not satisfied with the Finance Ministry’s work.

“It seems like the regulations were written hastily, in order to respond to the criticism against Israel that resulted from the Ofer Brothers scandal,” Eldad said. “The regulations presented today are incomplete and difficult to understand or implement.”

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