Argentina's Congress Approves Pact with Iran To Probe Bombing of Jewish Community Center

By Reuters

Published February 28, 2013.

(page 2 of 2)

REPUTATION

Center-left lawmaker Elisa Carrio said the deal would further damage the G20 country’s international reputation, which has been tarnished over the last year by messy legal wrangles with bondholders, trade disputes and criticism of its inflation data by the International Monetary Fund.

“Argentina is going to be much weaker in the eyes of the global community as a result of this accord,” she said.

The accord will establish a five-member commission made up of foreign legal experts and outlines plans for Argentine judicial officials to travel to Tehran to question those people for whom Interpol has issued arrest warrants.

Iran, which remains locked in a stand-off with world powers over its disputed nuclear program, denies links to the attack.

In 2007, Argentine authorities secured Interpol arrest warrants for five Iranians and a Lebanese over the attack in which an explosives-laden truck detonated outside the Argentine Israeli Mutual Association (AMIA) building.

Iranian Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi is among the Iranian officials sought by Argentina, which is home to Latin America’s largest Jewish community.

Western and Israeli sources have voiced concerns that Argentina may have lost its interest in pursuing investigations of the 1994 attack, as well as the bombing of the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires that killed 29 people two years earlier.

The Islamic Jihad Organization, believed to be linked to Iran and the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, claimed responsibility for the 1992 bombing.

Argentine, Israeli and U.S. officials have long blamed the AMIA attack on Hezbollah guerrillas backed by Iran. (Editing by Alison Williams)



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