Argentina’s government rejected the Israeli government’s summons of its ambassador in order to explain the memorandum of understanding signed between Argentina and Iran advancing the investigation of 1994 AMIA bombing case.
“The attack was suffered by the people of our country on July 18 and did not involve any Israeli citizen. The victims were mostly Argentines and include six Bolivians, two Poles and one Chilean,” Argentina’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement issued late Tuesday.
“Argentina has never summoned an Israeli ambassador to demand an explanation over his government’s actions. Therefore, the Argentine Foreign Ministry states that this summons to demand explanations on sovereign decisions of Argentina is an improper act that we reject vigorously and that goes against the traditional relations of friendship between the two nations,” the statement said.
Also Tuesday, the Argentina’s Foreign Minister Hector Timerman, who is Jewish, held a meeting with representative of the AMIA Buenos Aires Jewish community center, and the DAIA Jewish political umbrella, and relatives of the AMIA bombing victims, in order to explain the details of the agreement.
Timerman said later in a news conference that he had informed both DAIA and AMIA “that the ‘Commission of Truth’ will only produce a recommendation to the Executive, but not to the Judiciary, which will work with total independence.”
The agreement was received with harsh criticism from local and global Jewish leaders.
“The idea of establishing a ‘truth’ commission on the AMIA tragedy that involves the Iranian regime would be like asking Nazi Germany to help establish the facts of Kristallnacht,” said American Jewish Committee Executive Director David Harris in a statement issued late Tuesday. “It is offensive not only to the families of the 85 murdered and hundreds wounded, but to the entire Argentine nation which for more than 18 years has sought justice.”
“We are surprised that the Argentine government would team up with the Iranian government to seek out justice,” B’nai B’rith International President Allan J. Jacobs said in a statement. “Given Iran’s deplorable judicial track record and its refusal to turn over those previously implicated in the bombings, there’s little reason to believe anything substantial will come out of this commission.”
The parliaments of both countries must ratify the agreement, which creates a Commission of Truth consisting of five independent judges, none from either Argentina or Iran. Suspects may be interrogated by Argentinean justice officials, but only in Tehran.
Argentinean parliamentarians from opposition parties declared that they will vote against the agreement with Iran.
The pact was signed by the foreign ministers of the two countries on Jan. 27 in Ethiopia on the sidelines of an African Union summit in Addis Ababa.