Manbar to be released early

Businessman convicted of selling arms to Iran to be discharged fo rgood behavior

Nahum Manbar, who was convicted in 1998 of abetting an enemy in wartime after he provided military aid to Iran, will likely be released from prison in the upcoming days, having completed 9 years of his 16-year term, Channel 2 reported Sunday. Manbar's term will be shortened by a third due to good behavior. Despite the severity of Manbar's actions, the defense establishment is not protesting the early release. Channel 2 quoted a source in the defense milieu as saying "We are not vindictive." The source also claimed that Manbar had paid his debt to society, had indeed earned his early release with his good behavior and would no longer pursue illegal activities. In 1998, Tel Aviv District Court Judge Amnon Strashnov found Manbar guilty of selling poison-gas material and chemical-weapons equipment to Iran from 1990- 1995 and sentenced him to 16 years in jail. According to the charges, Manbar, an Israeli expatriate businessman, made contact with the head of the Iranian chemical weapons program, Majed Abasbur, in 1990. Abasbur asked Manbar to supply him with material and know- how to produce chemical weapons and equipment to establish a chemical-weapons plant. The two also signed a contract in which Manbar promised to supply Iran with material for producing mustard and nerve gas. Manbar supplied 150 million tons of chemicals over four years and allegedly earned $16m. Manbar claimed that he had conducted all of his business with the knowledge and blessings of the General Security Service, which used him to gain information about Iran's chemical-weapons program. He also claimed that the GSS had promised him immunity from prosecution for his activities. Dan Izenberg contributed to this article