In July 1977, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the Shah of Iran, sent Lieutenant General Hassan Toufanian, his Deputy Minister of War and Armaments, to Israel to hold secret talks with the newly formed Likud government of Menachem Begin. In April that year, the Shah had signed six ‘oil for arms’ contracts with Shimon Peres, the Defence Minister in the previous Labor government. One of the contracts, code named ‘Flower’, sought Israel to modify its advanced surface-to-surface missiles and sell them to Iran. Gen. Toufanian’s mission was to ensure that the change of government in Israel would not affect the deal. He met Major General Ezer Weizman, Defence Minister in the Begin government, and both of them agreed to build a military co-production line — Israel was to provide the technical know-how and Iran the finances and test sites. As part of it, Israel promised to supply Iran ballistic surface-to-surface missiles with a range of 700 kilometres that could carry a nuclear warhead, writes journalist Ronen Bergman in his book, The Secret War with Iran. (Read More)
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