Court: Israeli Businessman Aided Iran’s Weapons Program

An Israeli court has convicted an Israeli businessman of supplying Iran with chemical weapons materials.

Calling Nahum Manbar a liar and a manipulator, the court found that he had harmed state security by aiding an enemy of the Jewish state.

The judge wrote that Manbar had acted out of greed, seeking to put millions of dollars in his pocket, at the expense of Israel’s security.

“The accused impressed me as a fraudulent, manipulative and greedy person,” the judge wrote.

The prosecutor charged that in 1990 Manbar, who faces a life sentence, made contact with the head of Iran’s chemical weapons program, becoming involved in deals to provide Tehran with information, equipment and raw materials to produce chemical weapons.

Manbar, for his part, described himself during the trial as a “patriot” who would not harm the security of the state. In previous remarks, he had maintained that officials in the Defense Ministry were aware of his business dealings.

Commenting on the verdict Thursday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu lashed out at Manbar, saying he hoped the court would impose a heavy sentence. He called Manbar a criminal who committed a terrible act, the likes of which he could not recall in the history of the state.

Manbar’s attorney, Amnon Zichroni, in turn, accused Netanyahu of interfering with the judicial process by making such statements before sentencing was completed.

Sentencing is scheduled for July 15.

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