Iran, Argentina spar over 1994 bombing

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August 16, 2007 17:15

Five officials involved in probe of Jewish center attack summoned to Teheran.

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An Iranian court has summoned five former Argentinean government officials to travel to Iran and answer charges of working against the security of the country, state television announced Thursday. The five officials were all involved in an investigation that implicated Iran in a 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center in the Argentinean capital of Buenos Aires that killed 85 people and wounded 200. The report said the Argentineans had been informed of the summons via diplomatic channels and if they did not travel to Iran and appear in court in the coming days, an international arrest warrant would be issued against them. The court summoned former federal Judge Juan Jose Galeano, Interior Minister Carlos Corach, chief prosecutors Eamon Mullen and Jose Barbaccia, and Ruben Beraja, a banker and former head of the Delegation of Argentine Jewish Associations. More Argentineans could be summoned in the future, the television report added. The announcement comes in the wake of Argentinean federal Judge Rodolfo Canicoba Corral's December declaration that former Iranian President Hashemi Rafsanjani and eight other officials were "fugitives from justice" for not responding to arrest warrants issued earlier. At the time, the judge said he had serious evidence linking the officials, which included including former intelligence chief Ali Fallahijan and former Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Velayati, to the bombing. Iran has denied any involvement in the attack and has said it does not recognize the validity of the arrest warrants and would oppose any attempt to detain the former president or other Iranian citizens. There are a number of cases in Iran about alleged attempts to harm its national security, particularly involving British and Americans, and currently four Iranian-Americans are being investigated on such charges. On Wednesday, a government spokesman announced the arrest of two Chinese nationals on charges of espionage against nuclear and military facilities.


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