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December 22, 2016
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December 12, 2011
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April 1, 1986
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Declassified in Part - Sanitized Copy Approved for Release 2011/12/12 : CIA-RDP90-00965R000705970013-3 02 /-~?- NEW YORK TIMES 1 April 1986 Documents Detail Israeli Missile Deal With the Shal ~ By ELAINE SCIOLINO Special to The New Yank Timer WASHINGTON - Before the fall of the Shah in 1979, Israel was involved in a multibillion-dollar project to modify advanced, surface-to-surface missiles for sale to Iran, according to docu- ments said to have been left in Teheran by Israeli diplomats. The documents reveal that the Israe- lis told the Iranians that the missiles could be fitted with nuclear warheads, although this possibility was not pur- sued. The two sides agreed that if Iran wanted a nuclear ability, this would pose a problem with the Americans. The Israelis left shortly before the 1979 revolution. The Israeli papers, in English, were published in paperback by the Iranians who seized the Amer- ican Embassy in November 1979 and who have published more than 50 vol- umes of secret documents found there. The Israeli-Iranian project, code- named "Flower," was one of six oil- for-arms contracts signed in April 1977 in Teheran by Shah Mohammed Riza Pahlevi and Shimon Peres, then the Is- raeli Defense Minister. Two Nations Had Trade Missions At the time, Iran and Israel did not have diplomatic relations, but they had trade missions. In addition, Iran was the only Middle Eastern country that recognized Israel's right to exist. The two countries, according to tran- scripts of conversations in the docu- ments, intended to keep the proposed missile improvement secret from the United States. Alth official w s _o w re that Israeli and Iranian milita leaders had exchanged secret visits th di not know the nature of the dis- cussion according to interviews with ~De rtrt- former o icials of the State ment_the Pentagon, he Cent ro II ntelli- gence Agency and the National curity CT!ndf staff. The possession of surface-to-surface missiles was part of the Shah's plan to turn Iran into the most formidable military power in the Middle East. For the Israelis, the deal offered a guaran- teed oil supply as well as financing for advanced military research. Work Halts After Revolution According to the documents, a mis- sile was test-fired in Israel in the pres- ence of an Iranian general. The aim of the project was to extend the range of an Israeli missile developed in the early 1970's and replace American-sup- plied parts so that Israel could legally export it without American approval. Israel was still perfecting the missile when Ayatollah Rubollah Khomeini came to power in February 1979 and halted cooperation with Israel. Two Iranian officials involved, Gen. Hassan Toufanian, the arms procurer, and Adm. Kamal Habibollahi, the navy commander, said in interviews that the conversations recorded in the docu- ments were genuine. The two now live in the United States. In a third interview, Ezer Weizman, who took over as Israeli Defense Minis- ter in May 1977 and who is now a mem- ber of the Cabinet under Prime Minis- ter Peres, did not deny that the docu- ments were authentic. Weinman Confirms Contacts "Obviously we had relations with Iran and I knew General Toufanian personally," he said from Jerusalem in a telephone interview. "I had many conversations with him both in Tel Aviv and in Teheran. But I don't think it Js appropriate that I, as former Minister of Defense and as a Minister In the Israeli Cabinet, should comment on affairs of state backdated to 1977. " Other Israeli officials called the papers a forgery. "These rumors and falsified docu- ments are usually spread by the present regime in Teheran with the view to discredit the previous regime," Avi Pazner, a spokesman for Israel's Foreign Ministry, said. A spokesman for Mr. Peres, Uri Savir, said, "I have nothing to add to Mr. Pazner's statement." The Flower project, according to the documents, involved the production of missiles with warheads weighing 750 kilograms, or 1,650 pounds, and with a range of up to 300 miles. They were to be shipped through a Swiss company to central Iran for assembly and testing. Books Available In Libraries The books with the documents are on sale in Teheran. They are available in the libraries of Harvard University, the University of Chicago, Columbia University and in the Library of Con- gress. The volume on the missile project, published three years ago, was made available to The New York Times through the Iranian Library of Encino, Calif. Richard Helms, former director of the C.I.A. and a former ambassador to Iran who is now a consultant on the Mi'd&-e East. said: "I am hardly surprised that these documents have not come to light until now. The books attracted a great deal o 1attention when the rst volumes ap- peared, but ever sinceostage crisis, interest in Iran as n rasti ~y reduced Even hough new vol- umes still appear with some regulari- ty, they tend to be regarded in Intelli- gence circles as a kind of ancient bisry- to. 1977 Visit to Israel Some of the papers date from July 1977, two months after Israel's Labor Government fell and Menachem Begin was elected as Prime Minister. It was then that the Shah, concerned about the viability of the military deals he had signed with Mr. Peres, dispatched Gen- eral Toufanian to Israel. General Weizman tried to convince General Toufanian of Iran's need for an advanced missile, according to a con- versation recorded in the documents. "You must have a ground-to-ground missile," General Weizman said. "A country like yours with F-14's, with so many F-4's, with the problems sur- rounding you, with a good missile force, a clever and wise one." Then, perhaps as a bargaining tactic, he almost called off the missile project, telling the Iranian that "the 'Flower' is not a top priority for us." General Toufanian hinted that such a project might cost more than Iran could afford. "No country has enough money for defense, no country whatsoever," he said. "Neither Iran nor the U.S." 'It Was Beautiful' Israel's development of the missile was so far along that General Toufa- nian was able to witness the firing of a missile during his visit. "It was beautiful, beautiful, a fully developed missile," he recalled in the interview. He added that there were technical problems that would have to be over- come before Israel could deliver it. Among its components were Amer- ican-made inertial navigation equip- ment and a guidance system that Is- rael was forbidden to make available to other governments. There was also the more serious political problem of how the United States would react when it learned that its two allies were secretly working on a missile with a nuclear capability. In the documents, General Weinman said the missile could carry a nuclear warhead. "All missiles can carry an atomic head, all missiles can carry a conven- tional head," he said. A summary of a conversation on the same day between General Toufanian and Moshe Dayan, then the Israeli For- eign Minister, said: "General Dayan raised the problem of the Americans' sensitivity to the in- troduction of the kind of missiles envis- aged in the joint project. He added that the ground-to-ground missile that is part of the joint project can be re- garded also as a missile with a nuclear head, because with a head of 750 kg., it can be a double-purpose one. Declassified in Part - Sanitized Copy Approved for Release 2011/12/12 : CIA-RDP90-00965R000705970013-3 Declassified in Part - Sanitized Copy Approved for Release 2011/12/12 : CIA-RDP90-00965R000705970013-3 L Question of Nuclear Ability General Dayan is described as say-' ing that "at some stage, the problem will have to be raised with the Amer- icans" and that he would discuss it with the Shah during their next meeting. Although the Israelis never explicitly said that they had a nuclear ability or that they were willing to turn over such a capability to Iran, it was implied in the discussions, General Toufanian said. "When you read these pages, there is no doubt about it," he said in the inter- view. He said Iran was not interested in a nuclear weapon at that time, but "tat did not mean we would not be Inter- ested in another decade." Iran had signed the 1968 treaty bar- ring the spread Tnuclear per, but Israel srae leaders have never a au- clear weapons. But C.x.A-.3WaffWU an~American ite ence o dais have conc u e t a sm lpr~o~duced nuclear weapons as e ark as brie. American officials said -they were aware that Israel was developing a missile that could carry a nuclear war- head. They also knew that Iran was sending oil to Israel. What they did not know was that Iran was involved in Is- rael's weapons development. 7614A119 J,17 is. 1977 w,c o. RIKI 10~IJ1,M. VICE nisi - AA WELD It Ta?sl1V *CTWtco M 1S t . N1mUtES Nis 1A a, I +~ o. IL FWKIaI OF U0s 1~ 6tILMIaa~F , f proolow a t. wn/~r'wfenlan ralwd the General ssessswnt of this protec {sloe on a r~ Is PruPOSal. info,'" UY,n of Galore) lklann'h nt to this esdltreys sled his cor m d e most General tuufanlan a tills project Is IndN wple~s rich the W"eral Doyen of his rloes that sentlonlnq the P am ira? a t of v1m.f. h olusi-I pain 111 faclno. ~N_A%.J 'A~'?wr/*w!"' F'"' ..-,Wes"' ' 111mc General U e'f1oMa-~ ~ 'Harpoons missile 1e st Moshe Dayan, above, Israeli Foreign Minister in 1977, and Gen. Hassan Toufanian, chief arms procurer for Shah of Iran. Among documents said to have 'I Was Surprised' Gary Sick, Iran specialist on the Na- tional Security Council staff under President Jimmy Carter, said: "I was surprised by the documents, surprised to learn that two countries closely allied with the united States were conducting joint military opera- tions without talking to us about them." Most surprising was the joint missile project, the former officials said. Harold Saunders, former Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Af- fairs, said: "Israel built a lot of things for the Iranians that we did not know about. But it surprises me that the Israelis would have brought the Iranians into the development of a missile that may have been part of their nuclear pro- gram. If that is the case, I am sur- prised we did not know about it." A Down Payment in Oil General Toufanian said in the inter- view that Iran made a down payment for the missile in 1978 by shipping $260 million worth of oil from Kharg island. A team of Iranian experts began work on the site of the missile assem- bly plant near Sirjan, in central Iran, according to General Toufanian. A testing range was to be located near Rafsanjan, from where the missile could be fired 300 miles north into the desert and south into the Gulf of Oman. Operation Flower was only one of several joint Israeli-Iranian military projects, according to the documents. The summary of a conversation in July 1978 in Teheran between Admiral Habibollahi and the Israeli navy com- mander, Adm. Michael Barkai, out- been found after Iranian revolution are minutes of their meeting on "Flower" project. lined other possibilities. The document lists items that Israel had ready to sell, from advanced radar systems to sys- tems- to convert planes for maritime use, and mentions the possibility of "enhancing the 'Flower' project" so' that the missiles could be launched from submarines. "My interest always was to have a submarine force," Admiral Habibolla- hi, who now lives in the Washington area, said in an interview. "And we were considering tactical, nonnuclear missiles for our submarines." Declassified in Part - Sanitized Copy Approved for Release 2011/12/12 : CIA-RDP90-00965R000705970013-3