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Israel's defence ministry confirms dealers sell aircraft parts to Iran

Israel's Ministry of Defence confirmed on Thursday reports claiming two Israeli arms dealers sold US made F-4 Phantom II spare parts to Iran via Greece.

The Israeli media said the arms dealers; Avihai Weinstein and Eli Cohen had been arrested and were under investigation by Israeli authorities. The ministry refused to elaborate on the case.

Greek Kathimerini newspaper reported last week that a two-part secret investigation by the US Homeland Security Investigations and Greece's Financial Crimes Squad revealed that the arms dealers tried to sell Iran the aircraft spare parts in clear violation of the arms embargo imposed on Iran.

According to the newspaper the shipment was sent by a travel agency from Tel Aviv to a fake company in Vōtanicos; near the centre of Athens, however the intended destination was Iran.

Israel's Channel 2 said Cohen had been arrested several times over the past 12 years but every time the Israeli authorities failed to prove that the final destination of his shipments was Iran, and had to renew his export permit.

Israel is very supportive of imposing severe sanctions against Iran to force it to abandon its nuclear programme which it believes threatens its existence.

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