Prosecutor: President Negotiated with Iran on AMIA

Prosecutor investigating AMIA bombing claims President Fernandez negotiated with Iran to avoid punishing those responsible.

Ben Ariel ,

Protest by relatives of AMIA victims
Protest by relatives of AMIA victims
Reuters

A prosecutor investigating the 1994 bombing of the Argentine-Israeli Mutual Association (AMIA) in Buenos Aires on Wednesday accused President Cristina Fernandez of secretly negotiating with Iran to avoid punishing those responsible, reports The Associated Press (AP).

The 1994 bombing remains unsolved, but Argentina and Iran reached an agreement in 2013 to investigate the attack that killed 84 people.

Argentine prosecutor Alberto Nisman in 2013 released an indictment accusing Iran and Hezbollah of organizing the blast. Iran denies any involvement.

On Wednesday, according to AP, Nisman accused Fernandez and other senior Argentine officials of agreeing not to punish at least two former Iranian officials in the case.

He asked a judge to call Fernandez and others, including Foreign Minister Hector Timerman, for questioning.

"The president and her foreign minister took the criminal decision to fabricate Iran's innocence to sate Argentina's commercial, political and geopolitical interests," Nisman was quoted as having said.

A federal judge must now decide whether to hear the complaint and whether anyone should be summoned for questioning.

Government officials criticized the prosecutor's decision, calling it ludicrous.

"This is rarely seen foolishness," Anibal Fernandez, the presidency's secretary general, told local media, according to AP.

The prosecutor said Timerman struck "secret deals with Tehran" to set up false trails and alter the investigation to exonerate the Iranians from any responsibility.

Last May, an Argentine court declared unconstitutional an agreement with Iran to probe the 1994 bombing.

The accord between the two countries was strongly rejected by organizations representing the 300,000 members of Argentina's Jewish community, the largest in Latin America.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani was found to have been on the special Iranian government committee that plotted the 1994 bombing, according to an indictment by the Argentine government prosecutor investigating the case.

The AMIA bombing is considered the deadliest terror attack in Argentina’s history, killing 85 and wounding hundreds more.

Speaking to reporters Wednesday, Nisman said that "the impunity of the Iranians was ordered by the president and instrumented by Timerman" with the goal of scoring closer geopolitical ties with Iran, trading oil and even selling weapons.

Mohsen Rabbani, Iran's former cultural attache in Buenos Aires, and the Islamic Republic's former intelligence minister, Ali Fallahian, are among the suspects in the July 18, 1994, attack.

The prosecutor has tried for years to get Rabbani and other suspects extradited to face trial in Argentina.



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