Ex-Mossad Chief: Release of Israeli Convicted of Iran Dealings Harms Efforts to Thwart a Nuclear Tehran

Attorney General approves early release of Nahum Manbar, sentenced to 16 years for assisting Iran's unconventional weapons program.

Former Mossad chief Shabtai Shavit said Monday that the approval of Nahum Manbar's early release from prison sends a contradictory message to the world; that Israel does not perceive selling means of unconventional weapons as a severe issue.

Manbar was sentenced to 16 years in prison in 1997 after he was convicted of harming state security and selling information and supplies to create chemical weapons to Iran.

Nahum Manbar
Moti Kimche

Shavit said Israel is constantly emphasizing the danger of Iran's nuclear weapons program. "We in Israel, in all its branches, representatives and institutions, never stop nagging the rest of the world and the United States about the constant need to increase sanctions, and punish anyone who trades with Iran – especially those who supply Iran with materials for developing its unconventional weapons program," said Shavit. " We are at the head of the righteous camp."

"I have no doubt that these issues – about the international significance and consequences on Israel - were not considered by the attorney general who approved the shortened sentence, and that he has no idea about the issue," said Shavit.

Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein approved the early release of Manbar on Monday, one and a half years before the end of his sentence. This was the third time Manbar had requested to be released early.

Shavit said that in the past he was always included in discussions on whether or not Manbar's sentence should be shortened. The former Mossad chief said he always opposed the idea. But, according to Shavit, the Mossad did not consult him this time, and the decision came to him "as a surprise."

קראו כתבה זו בעברית: ראש המוסד לשעבר נגד שחרור מנבר: פוגע במאמץ נגד הגרעין האיראני