'Iran may recruit Manbar if he's freed'

State against early release of man who sold enemy chemical warfare material.

By DAN IZENBERG
July 5, 2007 18:56
1 minute read.
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The state is opposing the early release of Nahum Manbar, who was sentenced to 16 years in jail for supplying chemicals and know-how to Iran for its war effort, on the grounds that he poses a threat to national security and because his release would damage public confidence in the law enforcement system. A representative of the State Attorney's Office on Thursday informed the parole board discussing Manbar's request for an early release that both the Israel Security Agency (ISA) and the Mossad had submitted opinions opposing the move. According to the Mossad opinion, "We know that Manbar lost his fortune and went bankrupt and that his economic situation is not good. We also know from past experience that Manbar is greedy and therefore easily seduced for money, that his value system has disintegrated and that, in addition, he has a 'personal account to settle' with Israel, which, according to his distorted viewpoint, did him an injustice. "These circumstances make the prisoner a very attractive target for enlistment by hostile intelligence forces, which, it is quite reasonable to assume, will try to renew contact with him. We can imagine that the Iranian intelligence will be interested in questioning Manbar in order to extract from him what Israel knows about the affair and to learn from him the Mossad's work methods and the intelligence capabilities of the entire system, which the prisoner learned about during his trial." Manbar was convicted in Tel Aviv District Court in 1997 of signing a contract with the Iranian government to supply it with know-how and chemicals for its military effort, and to help establish factories to produce the chemical weapons. He received $16 million in return. These and other crimes were committed between 1990 and 1994, even after he had been warned to stop his contacts with Iran and had repeatedly promised to do so. The Mossad added that until now, Manbar had not internalized the gravity of his actions, admitted he was guilty or expressed remorse for his deeds. The Mossad added that this was a particularly bad time to release someone as dangerous as Manbar because of the increasing threat to Israel's existence from Iran under its current president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The parole board will meet again to discuss the Manbar case on August 1.

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