Israel Disappointed by Talks on Argentina Attack

Israel's embassy in Buenos Aires is disappointed over talks between Argentina and Iran about 1994 attack on a Jewish center.

Elad Benari, Canada ,

Israeli flag outside Iranian embassy in Bueno
Israeli flag outside Iranian embassy in Bueno

Israel's embassy in Buenos Aires expressed "disappointment" Friday over talks between Argentina and Iran about a deadly attack nearly two decades ago on a Jewish center in the Argentine capital, AFP reported.

The foreign ministers of Argentina and Iran met in New York Thursday, on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, to discuss the 1994 bombing which killed 85 people at a building housing various Jewish charities and NGOs.

Argentina has charged that the attack was planned and financed in Tehran and carried out by a Hizbullah cell.

Israel learned "with great disappointment the news that Argentina had agreed to meet with Iran at the foreign minister level to advance the investigation into the attack on the offices of the AMIA," said an embassy statement quoted by AFP.

The Israeli statement added there was "no room for doubt" that Iran was responsible for the attack, and that the decision to bomb the building was made "at the highest levels of the Iranian government."

In the July 1994 attack, a van loaded with explosives detonated outside the six-story AMIA. In addition to the scores of dead, more than 300 people were injured in the worst ever act of terrorism to hit Argentina.

Argentina indicted and sought the extradition of eight Iranians over the massacre in 2006, including current Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi and former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani.

Buenos Aires' Foreign Minister Hector Timerman said Thursday that the two sides have agreed to continue their dialogue "until a solution is found" and would hold a new round of talks in Geneva in October.

The talks aim to "explore a legal mechanism" for resolving the matter "not in contradiction with the legal systems of Argentina and Iran," Timerman said in a statement following his meeting with his Iranian counterpart Ali Akbar Salehi.

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.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American Desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)