Argentine prosecutor Alberto Nisman
Argentine prosecutor Alberto Nisman Reuters

Argentinian prosecutor Alberto Nisman had drafted arrest warrants for Argentina's president and foreign minister before he died under suspicious circumstances, it was revealed Tuesday.

In a 26-page document - found in the trash at his apartment and revealed by Argentina's Clarin newspaper - Nisman had written a request for President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner and her Foreign Minister Hector Timerman to be arrested on charges of covering up Iran's involvement in the deadly 1994 bombing of the AMIA Jewish center in exchange for lucrative oil deals.

Prior to his death, Nisman had filed a 280-page complaint charging that Kirchner had issued an "express directive" to shield a group of Iranian suspects in the 1994 bombing.

Nisman contended that the government had agreed to swap grain for oil with Tehran in exchange for withdrawing "red notices" to Interpol seeking the arrests of the former and current Iranian officials accused in the unsolved case. He had already succeeded in outlining precisely how the highest echelons of Iran's government planned and authorized the attack, which was carried out via Tehran's proxy Hezbollah.

Nisman was found dead on the night of Sunday January 18 with a bullet wound to his head, and& Argentinian authorities initially attempted to play down the suspicious death as a simple suicide.

But as suspicions continued to mount, and amid a massive public outcry, the government reluctantly threw its weight behind an official probe - with the president even suggesting it was a murder intended solely to embarrass her. Investigators have already noted several indications that Nisman's death was either a murder or a "forced suicide", including the fact that the gun was not his, and no traces of gunpowder were found on his hands. Nisman had also received numerous threats to his life in recent years.

According to Sergio Berensztein, a senior Argentinian political analysts quoted by the New York Times, if Nisman had succeeded in submitting the arrest warrants "it would have provoked a crisis without precedents in Argentina."

The findings further underline the highly sensitive nature of Nisman's work, and will only deepen suspicions that someone - whether elements within the Argentinian government or the Iranian regime - chose to murder the veteran prosecutor just hours before he was set to give testimony at a special congressional hearing, at which he was expected to accuse Kirchner of a cover-up.

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