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Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Mofaz: Arafat agreed to house secret Iranian bases inside PA

Last update - 20:13 28/11/2006

Mofaz: Arafat agreed to house secret Iranian bases inside PA

By Yossi Melman, Haaretz Correspondent

Iran and the Palestinian Authority, then headed by Yasser Arafat, reached a
secret agreement in 2002, which called for the creation of branch Iranian
revolutionary guard corps bases in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip in
exchange for military aid to the Palestinian Authority.

Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz, who had been serving as defense minister
at the time, discovered the details of the deal on Monday.

According to Mofaz, Arafat formulated the deal with Iranian leaders in secret
meetings. Mofaz added that as part of the deal Iran supplied the Palestinian
Authority with 50 tons of military equipment as specified by Arafat. This
equipment was intercepted by the Israel Defense Forces on munitions ship
"Karin A" in 2002.

Mofaz added that the capture of Karin A had revealed the depth of the
relations that had begun to form between Arafat and the Iranian leadership.
The former defense minister believes that as a result of this affair and the
revelation of the budding relationship between Arafat and Iran, U.S. President
George Bush changed his attitude and began working towards the removal of
Arafat from the Palestinian leadership.

Mofaz spoke at an event honoring Israel's first ambassador to Iran following
his large contribution to the University of Haifa's Persian Gulf and Iran
studies department. Mofaz said in his address that the threats made by Iran
against Israel should not be taken lightly. He said that he strongly believes
that if Iran is successful in developing nuclear weaponry, it may pose an
existential threat to Israel.

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