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Congress examines Argentina's facilitation of Iran

ByJERUSALEM POST CORRESPONDENT
July 14, 2013 22:31

Members of congress call on Secretary of State John Kerry and US attorney general Eric Holder to sanction Argentina for Iran ties.

Iran's new president Hassan Rouhani

Iran's new president Hassan Rouhani 370. (photo credit:Reuters)

WASHINGTON – Members of Congress have sent letters to Secretary of State John Kerry and US Attorney-General Eric Holder calling for the sanctioning of Argentina for its ties with Iran.

The letters note that the two countries have improved economic and diplomatic ties substantially over recent years, with exports from Argentina to Iran increasing over 1,000 percent since 2008, and the two nations recently agreeing to resolve a dispute over the bombing of a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires in 1994. Iran was implicated in the attack that killed 85.



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“We find it extremely troubling that Argentina would be aiding and abetting any process designed to allow Iranian senior officials to rewrite history and disavow the findings from extensive judicial investigations and indictment of senior officials for their role in the 1994 AMIA bombings,” said the July 10 letter to Kerry.

At a hearing on the matter on Tuesday in the Republican- controlled House Subcommittee on Oversight and Management Efficiency, testimony from experts pushed back against a recent US State Department report that “Iranian influence in Latin America and the Caribbean is waning,” and that the Islamic Republic is not actively facilitating terrorist cells in the region.

One expert alleged that Iranian agents have been granted access to Latin American Free Trade Zones through Argentine channels.

Officials noted that Iran has also opened a chamber of commerce to work in coordination with the Argentine government in Buenos Aires.

House Republicans accused Argentina of not allowing one of their invited witnesses – Alberto Nisman, the special prosecutor in the 1994 bombing – to travel to Washington to testify for the hearing.

No State Department officials were called by the committee to testify at the hearing.
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