Argentina's President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner .
(photo credit: REUTERS)
An Argentine prosecutor accused President Cristina Fernandez on Wednesday of trying to orchestrate a cover up in the investigation of Iran over the 1994 bombing of the AMIA Jewish community center in Buenos Aires.
State prosecutor Alberto Nisman, investigating the blast that killed 85 people, said Fernandez has pushed to drop the charges and normalize relations as a way of tapping Iranian oil needed to narrow Argentina's $7 billion per year energy gap.
Oil would be exchanged for Argentine grains under the government's plan, Nisman said.
Nisman said he issued a request that a judge interrogate Fernandez and Foreign Minister Hector Timerman "for being authors and accomplices of an aggravated cover-up and obstruction of justice regarding the Iranians accused of the AMIA terrorist attack."
Argentine courts accuse Iran of sponsoring the bombing. Iran, in preparatory talks with the United States to end its standoff with world powers over its nuclear program, denies links to the attack.
Fernandez's Chief of Staff Anibal Fernandez dismissed Nisman's charge as "ridiculous." But it may cause problems for the president as she tucks into her last months in office. Argentina has a presidential election in October and Fernandez is barred from running for a third consecutive term.
"This is a very serious accusation, probably the most serious levied against Cristina Fernandez during her administration," said Ignacio Labaqui, who analyzes Argentina for emerging markets consultancy Medley Global Advisors.
"The prosecutor is accusing her of being responsible for a maneuver to cover up the worst terrorist attack in Argentine history," he added.