The Chinese company digging the tunnels for Tel Aviv’s light rail transit system has indirect ties with a corporation developing Iran’s nuclear weapons facilities, according to a report on Israel’s Channel 2.
The China Railway Tunnel Group in May won a nearly NIS 3 billion ($800 million) bid to help build Tel Aviv’s long-awaited light rail. CRTG is a subsidiary of CREC, China’s largest construction company, which has business ties with Iran’s Khatam-al Anbiya Construction company worth billions, including a high-speed rail project announced earlier this year connecting Tehran and Isfahan.
Khatam-al Anbiya, notes Iran Watch, is a corporation run by Iran’s IRGC (Revolutionary Guards) which is involved in the development of its nuclear weapons facilities. It is listed among the companies Israel is banned by law to have business with because of its ties to an enemy government.
The Israel Roads Authority, which is responsible for the Tel Aviv rail project, told Channel 2 in response to the report that CRTG was not a blacklisted company and that it was on the right side of the law.
According to a Haaretz report from 2010, Israeli law forbids investment of over $20 million in companies trading with Iran. The measure is rarely enforced, that report said, pointing to two instances where Dutch and German companies operating in Iran received major deals with Israeli industry.