(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
The government will not approach the US government on behalf of the Ofer brothers, a senior government official told Israel Radio on Monday. The official said that Israel cannot approach the US government because Jerusalem has been the strongest voice calling for sanctions against Iran, with whom the Ofer brothers are accused of doing business. He added that requests were made to the government to act on behalf of the Ofers, but they were summarily turned down.
Chairman of the Knesset Finance Committee Carmel Shama
HaCohen added that, it's not permissible that on the one hand, the Ofer brothers contribute to the welfare of the State of Israel, and on the other hand, caused damage to it. Shama added that there's no chance that the government can remain uninvolved in the affair. The Knesset Economic Committee was scheduled to discuss the affair on Tuesday.
Iran: 'We don't do business with Zionist companies'
Editorial: More vigilance on Iran
“A situation whereby a leading Israeli
company – or a company linked to it – is trading with Iran at a level that leads
the US State Department to sanction it, is a dangerous and a strategic black
hole in the Israeli effort to halt the Iranian nuclear project,” said Shama
HaCohen a day before.
On Sunday, quality-government watchdog, Ometz,
called both Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein and State Comptroller Micha
Lindenstrauss to initiate comprehensive investigations into all
Israeli-based companies doing business with Iran – and into the government
authorities under whose watch such alleged transactions took place.
letter to Weinstein, the group called for investigations, up to and including
the ministerial levels to find out who is responsible, and for what.
call came days after the US State Department announced it would place sanctions
on the Ofer Brothers Group for its role in the September 2010 sale of a tanker
to an banned Iranian company.
According to a fact sheet released by the
State Department, the Ofer Brothers Group, together with Singaporebased Tanker
Pacific, “failed to exercise due diligence, and did not heed publicly available
and easily obtainable information that would have indicated that they were
dealing with IRISL [Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines].”
Brother’s Group denied having ever knowingly done business with an Iranian
So far both the Defense Ministry and the Finance Ministry
have stated that they are not responsible for supervising the prohibition on
trade with enemy states, a policy that rests on a mandatory act from
Meanwhile, Iranian officials have denied any business ties with
Iran has no business dealings with “Zionist” companies, Chairman
of Iran’s Chamber of Commerce, Industries and Mines Mohammad Nahavandian said on
Friday, according to media reports.
“Based on the laws of the country,
any kind of trade or economic transaction with the Zionist regime and its
affiliated firms is against the law,” Nahavandian was quoted as
“The news regarding the activities of Zionist firms in regard to
Iran is a new game which has surfaced in reaction to other nations welcoming
establishing economic ties with Iran,” Nahavandian added. “Thus they [Western
powers] are naming some Zionist firms as engaged in doing business with Iran."Ron Friedman contributed to this report