JERUSALEM — Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir conceded today that the U.S. arms Israel shipped to Iran might be used against Israeli soldiers. But he said Israel's role in the deal was "a sustainable risk."
Israel radio, meanwhile, said the FBI may want to question four Israelis reportedly involved in the operation: David Kimche, the Foreign Ministry's former director general; Amiram Nir, the prime minister's adviser on counter-terrorism, and private arms merchants Al Schwimmer and Yaacov Nimrodi.
"We are always ready to cooperate with the United States," an Israeli official said, adding that no such request had been made.
Shamir said that in considering the U.S. request to send arms to Iran, policy-makers had foreseen the possibility that the weapons could find their way to south Lebanon, where Iranian-backed guerrillas are fighting Israel and an Israeli-backed Lebanese militia.
"In all weapons sales, you can't tell where exactly the arms will end up," he said. "We always take into account . . . to what extent a certain sale can harm Israel. Certainly in this case too we took it into account and we found that it is a sustainable risk."
Foreign Minister Shimon Peres, prime minister at the time of the first shipment, said he believes the affair would not damage U.S.-Israeli relations.
"When the dust settles and the picture becomes clear, there is no reason for our relations with the United States to deteriorate," Peres said on Israel radio.