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Germany OKs subsidized submarine sale to Israel

By Juergen Baetz
Associated Press / November 30, 2011
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BERLIN—Germany has approved the sale of another Dolphin-type military submarine to Israel and will pay for about a third of its cost, a senior German official said Wednesday.

Dolphin-class submarines are capable of carrying nuclear-tipped missiles, even though there is no evidence that Israel has armed them with such weapons.

Germany's parliament has set aside a maximum euro135 million ($180 million) in next year's budget to pay for its share of the submarine's cost, the official said. He spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.

Israel already has three Dolphin submarines from Germany -- one half-funded and two entirely funded by Berlin, and two more are currently under construction.

The official said the latest submarine, which brings the total to six, results from a 2005 agreement between the two nations that included an option for another subsidized sub. That option was now activated at Israel's request.

The contract for the submarine will be between the German and Israeli Defense Ministry and the manufacturer, with Germany starting to pay out its share of the cost next year, he said.

Israel is widely believed to possess a nuclear arsenal. It neither confirms nor denies foreign reports that it has nuclear arms.

The state of Israel was established three years after the end of World War II. Since Germany and Israel established diplomatic ties in 1965, Germany has become perhaps Israel's strongest ally in Europe.

Israel views Iran and its nuclear program as an existential threat and is continuously beefing up its military, even though Tehran denies developing nuclear weapons.

The submarine is built by Germany's HDW shipyard which is a division of ThyssenKrupp AG. Ironically, Iran's investment arm IFIC has a stake of about 4.5 percent in the German steelmaker.

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