Argentina seeks extradition of ex-Iranian minister

Argentina asks Singapore and Malaysia to extradite former Iranian foreign minister whom it accuses of involvement in 1994 AMIA bombing.

Ben Ariel,

Aftermath of 1994 AMIA bombing
Aftermath of 1994 AMIA bombing
Reuters

Argentina on Wednesday asked Singapore and Malaysia Wednesday to extradite a former Iranian foreign minister whom it accuses of involvement in a 1994 bombing that killed 85 people at a Jewish community center, AFP reports.

An investigating judge issued the request after learning that Ali Akbar Velayati, who is on the Interpol wanted list, was on a lecture tour to the two Southeast Asian countries, a judicial source told the news agency.

Argentine investigators accuse Velayati and four other Iranian former officials, including former Iranian president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, of orchestrating the July 18, 1994 car bombing at the Argentine Jewish Mutual Association in Buenos Aires.

The Iranians allegedly ordered Iran's Lebanese proxy Hezbollah to carry out the bombing, the deadliest terror attack in the South American country's history.

Iran denies involvement and has repeatedly rejected Argentine demands for the accused to testify.

Argentina's former president, Cristina Fernandez, in 2013 signed an agreement with Tehran to form a truth commission to investigate the bombing.

That agreement angered many in Argentina, including members of its Jewish community. However, a court subsequently struck down the deal with Iran and Fernandez's successor, Mauricio Macri, indicated he would not appeal that decision.

The attack remains politically explosive in Argentina, noted AFP.

The lead prosecutor in the case, Alberto Nisman, was found dead last year in mysterious circumstances four days after accusing Fernandez of conspiring with Iran to shield suspects from prosecution.

The case against Fernandez has since been thrown out for lack of evidence, while Nisman's death is still under investigation.

In February, an Argentinian judicial official confirmed that Nisman was murdered and said he had been the victim of a “homicide”, though a prosecutor later admitted that Nisman “may have been forced to kill himself”.




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