Israel buys submarines from part Iranian-owned German company
Israel's government has come under attack after purchasing submarines from German company ThyssenKrupp that is reportedldy part-owned by arch-enemy Iran.
The attorney general had already ordered police to look into allegations of improper conduct in the planned purchase of the submarines.
Reports suggest that Iran's regional foe Iran has a nearly five percent stake in the company company and has fuelled criticism of government handling of the submarine order.
The decision by the Israeli government to buy arms from Germany is already a sensitive one due to the genocide of European Jews by Nazi Germany.
But the decision to purchase submarines from a German company allegedly part-owned by Israel's main enemy in the region
The irony that Iran would profit from the Jewish state's defence purchases have not been lost on Israeli media.
Media reported that Iranian holding company IFIC continues to own a 4.5 percent stake in the German firm.
"Israeli money, Iranian profits," a headline in the newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth said Sunday.
ThyssenKrupp told AFP that IFIC owned around seven percent of the company until May 2003, when it fell below five percent, without providing details on the size of its current stake, if any.
Reports at the time said the US had pressured ThyssenKrupp to reduce Iran's stake to below five percent.
The Iranian state's representative on the company's supervisory board was also removed.
Israel is reportedly negotiating to buy the three submarines at a combined price of 1.2 billion euros ($1.3 billion), to replace the oldest vessels in its existing Dolphin fleet, which began entering service in 1999.
It already has five of the state-of-the-art German submarines, with a sixth due for delivery in 2017, Maariv newspaper reported.
Last month, Israeli Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit ordered police to probe allegations of improper conduct by a confidant of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in the planned purchase of the vessels.
Media reports have alleged a conflict of interest over the role played by the Netanyahu family lawyer, David Shimron, who also reportedly acts for the Israeli agent of ThyssenKrupp.
Foreign military sources say the Dolphins can be equipped with missiles armed with nuclear warheads.
Israel is believed to be the Middle East's sole if undeclared nuclear power, but refuses to confirm or deny that it has such weapons.