Judge Still Mulling Whether Kimche Will Be Forced to Testify in U.S.

A federal district court judge heard nearly three hours of argument Wednesday on whether David Kimche, former Director General of the Israel Foreign Ministry, would be forced to testify before a grand jury investigating the Iran-Contra affair. But he did not reach a decision.

Oded Eran of the Israeli Embassy told reporters that Kimche’s subpoena from Lawrence Walsh, the special prosecutor in the Iran-Contra investigation, was “still under debate” by Judge Aubrey Robinson Jr.

Eran said the government of Israel made clear that it opposed the subpoena because Kimche had diplomatic immunity and should not have to testify before a grand jury. Lawyers for Walsh and State Department officials, who also attended the hearing, refused to comment.

Kimche, who was involved in the secret United States arms shipments to Iran, was served with the subpoena during a visit to New York. Robinson allowed Kimche to return to Israel.

Eran said the hearing also focused “as a side issue” on the subpoenas served in Tel Aviv last week to Al Schwimmer, a businessman who holds dual U.S.-Israeli citizenship, and Israeli businessman Yaacov Nimrodi.

Eran said Israel is interested in reaching an agreement on the subpoenas, which angered Israeli officials, who believe they violate the agreement with Congress that no Israelis would be called to testify and in return Israel would provide requested information.

Walsh apparently believes that he is not bound by this agreement.

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