Argentina, Iran to Discuss 1994 Bombing Again

Argentine and Iranian representatives will meet to discuss a 1994 bombing of a Jewish aid association in Buenos Aires.

Elad Benari ,

Aftermath of AMIA bombing
Aftermath of AMIA bombing

Argentine and Iranian representatives will meet in Geneva Monday to discuss a 1994 bombing of a Jewish aid association in Buenos Aires that killed 85 people and injured 300 others, AFP reported on Sunday.

"It is a working meeting on the AMIA case under terms agreed during a meeting of foreign ministers September 27 in New York," Argentina’s foreign ministry said in a statement quoted by AFP.

At their meeting on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, Argentine Foreign Minister Hector Timerman and his Iranian counterpart, Ali Akbar Salehi, had agreed to continue the dialogue over the attack until they reach a "mutually agreed upon solution," the report noted.

Timerman at the time said the follow-up talks were to "explore a legal mechanism" for resolving the matter "not in contradiction with the legal systems of Argentina and Iran."

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 and followed a 1991 bombing of the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires that left 29 dead and 200 wounded.

Since 2006, the Argentine courts have demanded the extradition of eight Iranians, including current Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi and former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, to face charges in the attack.

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.

Israel expressed "disappointment" last month over the talks between Argentina and Iran, saying that 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."

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) also condemned the talks, describing the encounter between the sides as a "sham negotiation" which will enable Iran to continue to evade being brought to justice for its role in the attack.