Argentina, Iran Meet Over Jewish Center Bombing

The foreign ministers of Argentina and Iran meet, discuss the 1994 terror attack on a Jewish association in Buenos Aires.

Elad Benari ,

Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi
Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi

The foreign ministers of Argentina and Iran met on Thursday at the United Nations to discuss the deadly 1994 attack on a Jewish association in Buenos Aires, officials said.

Argentina has charged Iran of masterminding the bombing that killed 85 people at a building housing Jewish charities and NGOs in Buenos Aires.

Both sides agreed to continue their dialogue "until a solution is found," Argentine Foreign Minister Hector Timerman said in a statement quoted by AFP.

Timerman met with his Iranian counterpart, Ali Akbar Salehi, "and decided to continue negotiations" in Geneva in October, the statement read.

The dialogue seeks to "explore a legal mechanism that is not in contradiction with the legal systems of Argentina and Iran," it added.

In the July 18, 1994 attack, a van loaded with explosives detonated outside the Israeli-Argentine Mutual Aid Association. More than 300 people were also injured in the blast, which leveled the six-story building housing the association. It was Argentina's worst terrorist attack ever.

Argentina indicted and sought the extradition of eight Iranians over the massacre in 2006, including current defense minister and former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani.

In July 2011, the Iranian foreign ministry denied those people were involved, but said it was prepared to hold a "constructive dialogue" and "cooperate with the Argentine government to shed all light" on the attack.

Argentine prosecutors allege that the attack was planned and financed in Tehran and carried out by a Hizbullah cell.

Thursday’s meeting came two days after Argentina’s President Cristina Kirchner announced a meeting with Iran at its request over the 1994 terror attack.

Kirchner said she had instructed her foreign minister to hold the talks with his Iranian counterpart at some point in the future at the UN.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Wednesday he hoped Iran could build relations with Argentina.

"We have a tremendous amount of respect for the people of Argentina," Ahmadinejad told reporters in New York. "We would like to expand our relations," he added, blaming "the meddling of others" for creating misunderstanding between the two nations.

Argentina has South America's largest Jewish community, about 300,000.