Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.
Breaking News

Argentine Judge Requests Arrest Of Key Iranian Adviser In 1994 Jewish Center Bombing

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina — An Argentine federal judge investigating the 1994 AMIA Jewish center bombing has requested that Singapore and Malaysia arrest a high-level Iranian adviser to the country’s supreme leader in connection with the attack.

Alí Akbar Velayati, who was Iran’s foreign minister at the time of the terrorist attack and has been implicated in ordering the bombing, is now an adviser on international affairs to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. He is currently traveling in Southeast Asia to attend a regional summit.

Judge Rodolfo Canicoba Corral was notified on July 18, exactly 22 years after the bombing that killed 85 and injured hundreds, that Velayati, who heads the Strategic Research Center of the Expediency, was traveling to Singapore and Malaysia. He made the request to arrest Velayati alongside already existing arrest orders.

Under existing Argentine law, an accused person must have the opportunity to defend himself before a judge in order to reach a sentence. Since the accused Iranians, many from the upper political echelons, have not set foot on Argentine soil, it has been impossible to move the judicial process forward.

On Sunday, the head of the AMIA Special Investigation Unit, Mario Cimadevilla, confirmed that he was preparing a law to allow trials in absentia that would be discussed soon in the Parliament.

Iranians have been on Interpol’s most wanted list since 2007 in connection with the bombing. They include Mohsen Rabbani, a mullah and former cultural attache who did not travel to Colombia two months ago after political pressure to prevent his official government trip. Rabbani is believed to be a leading figure in spreading radical Islam in Latin America, particularly in Brazil.

Velayati has denied his role in the bombing. In an interview in May with an Argentine TV channel, he professed his innocence.

“This is a baseless accusation, a falsehood, a lie,’” he said. “Argentina is under the influence of Zionism and the United States.”

Asked if he would be willing to appear before an Argentine court, Velayati, who ran for Iranian president in 2013, responded that there was no reason why an Iranian official should have to respond to another nation’s accusations.

Iran also is believed to be behind the 1992 car bombing that destroyed the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires, killing 29 and injuring 242.

I hope you appreciated this article. Before you go, I’d like to ask you to please support the Forward’s award-winning, nonprofit journalism during this critical time.

Now more than ever, American Jews need independent news they can trust, with reporting driven by truth, not ideology. We serve you, not any ideological agenda.

At a time when other newsrooms are closing or cutting back, the Forward has removed its paywall and invested additional resources to report on the ground from Israel and around the U.S. on the impact of the war, rising antisemitism and the protests on college campuses.

Readers like you make it all possible. Support our work by becoming a Forward Member and connect with our journalism and your community.

Make a gift of any size and become a Forward member today. You’ll support our mission to tell the American Jewish story fully and fairly. 

— Rachel Fishman Feddersen, Publisher and CEO

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.