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Knesset Unit Questions Two Senior Officials on Iran Arms Sales

Two senior officials believed to have been closely involved in the U.S.-Israel arms shipments to Iran appeared before the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Security Committee in closed session Tuesday.

Amiram Nir, the Prime Minister’s advisor on counter-terrorism, and David Kimche, former Director General of the Foreign Ministry, reportedly supplied information to the Committee’s Intelligence Subcommittee. They refused comment to reporters when they left. Nir will appear again Wednesday.

Israel Radio reported that the subcommittee members appeared satisfied with the evidence indicating that Israel acted in the Iran arms sale as a loyal ally of the United States and was only fulfilling an American request when it shipped weapons to Iran.

Committee chairman Abba Eban said earlier that the testimony of top officials was important in light of the report by the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence released in Washington last week. The report indicated that Israel had initiated the arms deal and the diversion of funds from it to the Nicaraguan rebels known as Contras.

Eban, meanwhile, has asked Premier Yitzhak Shamir for a written clarification of Israel’s role. In a letter to the Premier he said that the various verbal reactions by Israeli leaders and spokesmen to versions of the affair published in the American media often left a negative impression. He said Israel needed a detailed report that would explain the government’s actions and rationale on the subject.

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