Shipping with the Enemy: Israeli Firm Deals with Iran

Last month the State Department sanctioned the Ofer Brothers Group, a private company based in the tony beach city of Herzliya, for selling an $8.6 million tanker to Iran through a known Iranian front company based in Monaco. The May 24 order barred the Israeli firm, along with a subsidiary based in Singapore, from obtaining export licenses, private loans north of $10 million from American banks and any loans at all from the U.S. Export-Import Bank. (An Eye For An Eye: Iran’s Blinding Justice System)

The more severe penalty, of course, was embarrassment, which extended beyond the billionaire family that owns the shipping company to an Israeli government that has made sanctioning Iran its top international priority and never misses an opportunity to scold the world about the perils that will ensue if Tehran acquires the means to build a nuclear weapon. Israeli officials have been at pains to explain why it fell to Washington to enforce laws against what Israelis regard as a threat to their very existence. “It looks ridiculous when Israel demands that the world impose sanctions on Iran when its own economic giants make deals with a country that is making a determined, fanatical effort to destroy it,” wrote Aryeh Eldad, a lawmaker from the right-wing National Union party, in a letter to the attorney general requesting an investigation.

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