Is Tel Aviv doing business with Iran? Good question. Not really. Tel Aviv is doing business with a Chinese firm that is doing business with Iran.
Arison Group’s Shikun & Binui Solel Boneh Infrastructure and China Railway Tunnel Group won a tender for nearly NIS 3 billion ($750 million) by Israel’s NTA Metropolitan Mass Transit System to build the Tel Aviv Light Rail “Red Line.”
The line will link the northeastern Tel Aviv suburb of Petach Tikvah with the city’s southeastern suburb, Bat Yam. A significant amount of the line will run underground, according to Deal Maker’s Hub, in effect creating Tel Aviv’s first subway system. It is expected to be the first of a network of Light Rail Transit (LRT) and Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) lines to be operated by the NTA.
But CRTG is a subsidiary of China’s CREC construction firm, which has ties with the Iranian Khatam-al Anbiya Construction Company owned and operated by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps. (IRGC)
(Yes, it’s the same IRGC that is developing nuclear weapons technology for the Islamic Republic of Iran, the one that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu keeps warning about.)
Earlier this year, Iran began building a $2.73 billion high-speed railway network that will extend about 400 kilometers, from Tehran to Isfahan.
That railway line is being built by China Railway Engineering Corporation (CREC) in cooperation with Iran’s Khatam Al Anbiya Construction Company.
According to a report published in February (2015) by the Tehran Times, the project, launched by President Hassan Rouhani during a visit to Qom, will continue for the next four years. Iran will provide $1.8 billion of the financing through the China Export and Credit Insurance Corporation.