'Ofer ships in Iran carried Blackhawk helicopters'

'Sunday Times' reports Israeli commandos on the ships may have conducted reconnaissance missions against Iran’s nuclear sites.

June 5, 2011 16:36
1 minute read.
A ZIM cargo ship.

ZIM cargo ship 311. (photo credit: Courtesy)

Ships owned by the Ofer brothers that docked in Iran may have carried Israel Air Force Blackhawk helicopters, which were used by commando units, the Sunday Times reported.

The paper claimed in the Sunday report that the helicopters were concealed in special containers for infiltration into Iran.

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The Times reported that the commando teams may have conducted reconnaissance missions against Iran’s secret nuclear sites, enabling the Israelis to reach Iran without arousing suspicion.

Last month, the US State Department imposed sanctions on Tanker Pacific Ltd., owned by the Ofer brothers, for selling a tanker to an Iranian company in breach of sanctions, and thus indirectly assisting that country's nuclear power program.

The affair caused the Ofer family great embarrassment in Israel and there have also been revelations that ships owned by the family occasionally docked in Iran. This did not contravene international sanctions but undermined Israeli efforts to isolate Iran.

With the Ofer Brothers affair looming in the background, the Ministerial Legislative Committee passed, on Sunday, a new bill prohibiting investment in companies that trade with Iran.

The bill, sponsored by Likud MK Carmel Schama Hacohen and co-signed by 15 MKs from across the political spectrum, aims to apply an existing law prohibiting banks and other financial institutions from investing in companies that trade with Iran, to all public and private companies as well as to private individuals. The bill stipulates that anyone found to be in business relations with such companies, be liable to a year's prison sentence and a fine of NIS five million, or three times the amount the investor earned from dealings with Iran, whichever amount is higher.

The bill passed and will go through the Knesset’s legislation process in coordination with the government.

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