Argentine President Cristina Kirchner
Argentine President Cristina Kirchner Reuters

An Argentine appeals court on Thursday upheld a lower court's decision to dismiss the case against President Cristina Kirchner on accusations that she shielded Iranian officials from prosecution over a 1994 Jewish center bombing.

In a 2-1 decision, the court rejected an appeal from prosecutors, who sought to revive the case against Kirchner being brought by their late colleague Alberto Nisman before he mysteriously died on the eve of congressional hearings, where he was due to present his explosive allegations.

"The federal appeals chamber ratifies the decision by Judge Daniel Rafecas to reject prosecutor Nisman's accusation," said a justice ministry statement.

Nisman was appointed a decade ago to reopen the investigation into the long-unsolved bombing at the Argentine Jewish Mutual Association, which killed 85 people.

He revealed how Iran ordered the attack via its Lebanese-based proxy terrorist group Hezbollah; the government in Tehran denies the charges.

He later concluded that a 2013 deal between Argentina and Iran for the suspects to be investigated by a joint commission was a conspiracy designed to ensure they would never be brought to justice.

The prosecutor was found in his bathroom with a bullet through the head on January 18, after filing a report accusing Kirchner, Foreign Minister Hector Timerman and other figures close to the government of protecting high-ranking Iranian officials, including former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, in exchange for oil and other trade benefits.

Since his death, initially labeled a suicide, heavy suspicion has fallen on Kirchner's government of orchestrating his murder.

The president, who took office in 2007, has claimed the prosecutor was manipulated by disgruntled former intelligence agents who then killed him to smear her.

Judge Rafecas had ruled the prosecution failed to provide sufficient evidence that any crime was committed, assailing their case in a 63-page ruling.

"It is clear that none of the alleged crimes presented by (lead prosecutor Gerardo) Pollicita in his petition to the court are demonstrated in the least," he said.