Israel to Aid U.S. Effort to Boycott Iranian Banking

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert will appoint a special coordinator responsible for monitoring the flow of funds from Iran to elements hostile to Israel. The coordinator will assist the United States in its efforts to boycott Iranian banking operations.

An Israeli delegation headed by Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz and participating in the strategic dialogue forum with the United States, informed U.S. officials of the decision at a meeting in Tel Aviv last week.

During the meeting, the U.S. delegation presented its plan to isolate Iranian funds, in order to make it difficult for Tehran to fund its nuclear program and support militant groups around the world. The project is headed by Stuart Levey, under secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence at the U.S. Treasury, who is also coordinating efforts with European and banking authorities. Levey visited Israel last year.

According to an Israeli official, the Israeli coordinator will monitor the transfer of funds to Hezbollah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other groups, both in Israel and the territories. "Enormous sums are being transferred and an organization is necessary to counter this," the source said.

The coordinator will function as part of the unit to prevent the funding of terrorism, which was established early during the intifada and has focused on locating and blocking means of funding Palestinian terrorism.

The American government has asked for help from Israeli sources to comprehend the internal developments in Iran and elements that affect the stability of the regime.

The intelligence community in the U.S. has hired Farsi speakers and experts on Iran, but U.S. officials believe that Israeli intelligence has more experience with the subject and has great advantages in this field.

Last week's meeting signaled a tightening of Israel-U.S. cooperation in the struggle against Iran, aimed at countering Tehran's nuclear program and preventing its efforts to achieve hegemony in the region.