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Iran Denies its Officials Will be Questioned in Argentina Attack

Iran denies that Iranians facing arrest warrants for their roles in the AMIA bombing will be questioned by an Argentine judge.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 2/13/2013, 6:46 AM

Aftermath of AMIA bombing
Aftermath of AMIA bombing
AFP/File

Iran denied on Tuesday that Iranians facing international arrest warrants for their alleged roles in the 1994 bombing of a Buenos Aires Jewish center will be questioned by an Argentine judge, AFP reported.

"The matter of questioning of some of the Iranian officials is a sheer lie," Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said at his weekly press conference, after Argentina's foreign minister had indicated the opposite.

"It seems that those who are concerned by the actual agreement are spreading such reports," Mehmanparast said, according to AFP.

Argentine Foreign Minister Hector Timerman said several weeks ago that seven Iranians with international arrest warrants against them will be questioned by an Argentine judge in Tehran concerning the bombing.

Timerman stressed that he had "made sure (Iran Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi) will have to be present when the judge questioned them and he will be."

Julian Dominguez, speaker of Argentina's lower Chamber of Deputies, downplayed Iran's apparent refusal to cooperate.

"What other people do is their concern," he said of Mehmanparast's remarks, according to the AFP report.

"What matters is that the (Argentine) government do its utmost in clearing up the worst terrorist attack that our people have ever suffered," he said.

"And there is not just one road toward clearing up the truth. There are many channels within international law,” he added.

Last month Argentine President Cristina Kirchner announced an agreement with Iran to create an independent commission to investigate the bombing.

Argentina has long accused Iran of masterminding the attack and since 2006 has sought the extradition of eight Iranians, including former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and ex-foreign minister Ali Akbar Velayati, apart from Vahidi.

Iran has repeatedly denied involvement in the bombing which killed 85 people, and has refused to arrest the suspects.

Argentina's Jewish community said it was “vehemently opposed” to the agreement between Argentina and Iran, saying that referring the case to a commission of this type was a denigration of the Argentinean justice system, which the community trusted to get to the bottom of the case.

Israel's foreign ministry protested to Argentina's ambassador over his country's agreement with Iran.

Washington has cast doubt that any solution will emerge from the deal.