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

Argentina has asked the United States to include the probe into the deadly 1994 bombing at the AMIA Jewish community center in the nuclear talks with Iran, its foreign minister said on Tuesday, according to Reuters.

Argentine courts have accused a group of Iranians of planning the attack which killed 85 people and is at the heart of a current political scandal.

According to Reuters, Foreign Minister Hector Timerman released a letter to his U.S. counterpart John Kerry in which he said Argentina had made the request before.

"I am asking you again that the AMIA issue be included in the negotiations with the Islamic Republic of Iran," the letter says.

The unresolved crime was the backdrop for the January 18 death of Alberto Nisman, the prosecutor who headed the AMIA investigation, in a mystery that has damaged confidence in Argentina's justice system and thrown the government into turmoil.

Days before being found shot dead, Nisman had accused President Cristina Kirchner, as well as Timerman, of conspiring with Iran to whitewash the crime in order to clinch a grains-for-oil deal.

His death was initially labeled a suicide, but suspicion has fallen on Kirchner's government, while the president has suggested Nisman was manipulated by disgruntled former intelligence agents who then killed him to smear her.

Last Friday, Kirchner was formally accused of shielding Iranian officials from prosecution over the bombing, as the new prosecutor in the case, Gerardo Pollicita, accepted Nisman's conclusions.

The United States and its partners in the nuclear negotiations with Iran have sought to keep talks strictly focused on concerns over Iran’s atomic program.

In Washington, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said she was not aware of any plans to raise the AMIA issue in the negotiations, noted Reuters.

The Iranian suspects, facing Interpol arrest warrants, deny any involvement in the bombing.

Timerman, in his letter to Kerry and another to Israeli foreign minister Avigdor Liberman, said Argentina was "greatly concerned" about other, unnamed countries using Argentina as a theater for their own conflicts.

An Argentine government official last month told Reuters on condition of anonymity that the government believes that Nisman was influenced by U.S. and Israeli intelligence agencies during his investigation.

Psaki was quoted as having said the United States and "the international community" had helped Argentina with the investigation into the AMIA bombing.

"The special prosecutor's death must not stop the pursuit of those responsible for this brutal terrorist attack," she said.

"We have contributed information where we can, in the past, and that will continue," added Psaki.