News and Document archive source
copyrighted material disclaimer at bottom of page

NewsMinewar-on-terrorisrael — Viewing Item

Israel has been buying iranian oil { May 2008 }

Original Source Link: (May no longer be active)

Jun 12, 2008 23:15 | Updated Jun 17, 2008 16:23
Is Israel indirectly buying Iranian oil?

Having adamantly denied for months that Israel could possibly be purchasing any oil originating in Iran, an Israeli official has now acknowledged that the Jewish state cannot be sure that Iranian oil is not coming here indirectly, and a former Israeli energy minister has told The Jerusalem Post that Iranian oil may have been imported indirectly for years and that he would have readily authorized such purchases himself.

"I don't see any problem if Iranian oil is arriving in Israel," said Moshe Shahal, who served as energy minister from 1984 to 1990, "because it's not coming straight from Iran."

Shahal explained that once oil is on the open market, its source becomes clouded. In a sense, he said, the oil loses its nationality while retaining its quality.

"The national oil companies sell their oil to buyers who in turn sell the oil on the free market," Shahal went on. And it was entirely possible that Israel had therefore been buying oil that originated in Iran for years. "The people selling the barrels of oil never see a barrel of oil in their life, they're just making the sales," he said.

"In my time, people came to me and said we had the opportunity to buy oil from all kinds of exotic locations - including Libyan oil or Syrian oil - countries with whom we obviously don't have normal relations," said former Labor MK Shahal, now a lawyer in Tel Aviv. "I approved those purchases, because it was good oil, and it wasn't coming directly from the governments of those countries, but from private sellers on the free market."

Today, he said, "I don't believe there is a target to specifically buy oil from Iran. But if it is being purchased, it would be through these types of opportunities."

The issue arose earlier this year, when, an Israeli Web site that follows business and energy-related stories, asserted that Iranian oil was regularly reaching Israel, despite the dire state of relations between the two countries, with Teheran regularly predicting Israel's imminent demise and Israel leading the calls for greater international efforts, including wideranging trade sanctions, to thwart Iran's nuclear program. reported that the oil was being transported and purchased through one of the world's largest commercial ports, Rotterdam.

"This is well known around the world," said Moshe Shalev, the editor of EnergiaNews and the author of the article. Shalev said that after the oil is purchased through a third party, the Haifa-based oil company, Eilat-Ashkelon Pipeline, stores it and then moves it to Bazan, Israel's largest oil refinery, also located in Haifa, to prepare it for commercial consumption.

Shalev cited a source with ties to Bazan as initially leaking the story. He maintained that the Eilat-Ashkelon Pipeline has Iranian ties dating back to the time of the shah.

The National Infrastructures Ministry initially flatly denied any such supply route. Spokesman Assaf Azoulai told the Post, "Every oil shipment to Israel comes with certification as to where it's from, and Israel is not purchasing oil from Iran."

But Azoulai subsequently told the Post, "We buy oil from the biggest producers in the world, and there's no way of knowing where it comes from." Nonetheless, he still maintained, the "rumor" of Israel buying Iranian oil was "nonsense."

In a written reply to the Post, an Eilat-Ashkelon Pipeline spokeswoman denied the EnergiaNews claim that her company buys oil at all, stating that it only provides "logistical services at the port and assists in the transportation of oil."

The Eilat-Ashkelon Pipeline was set up to transport oil from the shah's Iran to Israel. Such trade dated back to the 1950s, but the pipeline was opened in 1968 to ease the supply. Iranian oil, which was shipped to Eilat, was both consumed in Israel and transported on to Europe. After Iran's Islamic revolution in 1979, all direct contacts with Israel - oil deals included - were severed.

A spokesman for Bazan also categorically rejected the idea that his company uses oil originating in Iran. "That's absolutely not true," he said. "We know where all of our oil comes from, and none of it comes from Iran. It is all labeled and orderly. We are not buying oil from Iran, period."

A spokeswoman at the Iranian Embassy in London also distanced the Islamic Republic from any such supply. "I can confirm that Iran has no deal with a company having anything to do with Israel," she told the Post.

But echoing Shahal's explanation, world oil market specialist Shmuel Even said that Israel may very well be making such purchases indirectly.

"Oil is a commodity, like gold," he said. "You can buy it from anybody and sell it to everybody. It's quite possible that Israeli companies are buying oil in Europe which originated in Iran. But it's not official, it's on the free market, and I don't think it's a political issue."

The harbor master at Rotterdam Port, T. Selegars, said that both Iranian and Israeli ships came through his port, and that the Iranians were depositing shipments of crude oil there.

"A hundred million tons of oil are transported through the port every year, and ships come through from all over the world," he said. "Iranian ships are bringing oil to Rotterdam, and it is theoretically possible that oil is transported from here to Israel."

After the EnergiaNews piece was first published, in March, an oped article in the UK's Guardian newspaper termed the alleged Israel-Iran connection the "definition of hypocrisy" given Israel's call for heightened economic pressure on Teheran.

The story was also cited by the Swiss newspaper Sonntag after Israel complained that the Swiss foreign minister's March visit to Iran and subsequent signing of a multi-billion euro contract for natural gas was an "act unfriendly to Israel."

Quoting an "energy expert from one of the leading Israeli papers," the Swiss report stated, "Israel has been importing Iranian oil for many years." That article went on to mention that the purchases were made on the free market and not directly from Iran.

1917 zionist document goes on auction { November 2 1917 }
Americans afraid of germany jews from taking jobs { February 6 2006 }
Arrests us citizen { December 4 2002 }
Attack syria { June 18 2002 }
Britain gave israel nuclear capabilities
British inquiry rules britain unlawfully killed by idf soldier
British member of parliament suggests sanctions on israel
Early isreali terror bomb attacks { February 12 1942 }
Egypt ready for war { April 25 2002 }
First cloned baby { January 29 2003 }
Hamas says dancing is unislamic { October 7 2005 }
Israel considers eu membership
Israel has been buying iranian oil { May 2008 }
Israel justice minister compared composer to hitler { November 13 2003 }
Israel nuclear admission sparks controversy { November 2006 }
Israel ready for strike on iran { February 21 2005 }
Israel secretly pays debt to iran
Israel syria secretly negotiate treaty { December 2007 }
Israel to soothe soldiers with marijuana
Israel uses wmd first { April 23 1948 }
Israel warns citizens avoid egypt jordan { February 2007 }
Israeli ambassador found bound drunk and nude { March 14 2007 }
Israeli soldier who shot 13 yr old girl acquitted { November 15 2005 }
Israeli women losing rights { February 11 2007 }
Israelis massacred egyptian POWs 1967 war { March 12 2007 }
Israelis threaten to attack iran if US wont { September 30 2005 }
Jewish suspect planted explosives in haifa { July 12 2005 }
Self pity { May 9 2002 }
Smallpox inoculation
State department human rights abuses
Unnecessary for israeli to start 1967 war { June 10 2007 }
US protects hamas supporter in chicago
Wealthy jew questioned over international crime connections { February 9 2006 }
Who is semite { April 30 2002 }

Files Listed: 34


CIA FOIA Archive

National Security
Support one-state solution for Israel and Palestine Tea Party bumper stickers JFK for Dummies, The Assassination made simple