Jewish groups in Argentina have dismissed a proposal from the Iranian foreign
ministry last week offering cooperation with the Argentinian government
regarding the AMIA center bombing in 1994 in which 85 people were
killed.RELATED:J'lem unsettled by Argentina response to bomb probe Argentina welcomes Tehran overture on 1994 bombing
“Talking does not equal progress if it doesn’t lead to a trial,”
said Julio Schlosser, secretary-general of the AMIA Jewish umbrella organization
to The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday.
Referring to Argentinian Foreign
Minister Héctor Timerman’s statement on Sunday that the proposal was “a very
positive step,” Schlosser said, “The only reason for the Argentinian government
to talk with Iran about the matter is to schedule a place and a date for a trial
of those implicated in the attack.”
He added that it was unclear what the
Iranian proposal included and said the details of the offer needed to be
clarified before it could be known if it was serious or not. He admitted,
though, that the offer was unlikely to lead anywhere.
“We should listen
to what [the Iranians] have to say, but AMIA is not going to give up the legal
“You can’t trust a country that provides money to
terrorist organizations and denies the Holocaust,” he added.
Epelman, director of the Latin American Jewish Congress, told the Post
Iran’s offer was not credible in light of the fact that senior Iranian leaders
such as current defense minister Ahmed Vahidi were directly implicated in the
“Expressing sympathies for the victims of the attack on the eve
of the commemorations while at the same time continuing to stonewall when it
comes to cooperating with Argentina’s judiciary is nothing but cynical,” Epelman
said in a statement.
“If Iran is serious, it must fully cooperate with
the Argentinian justice system and allow the suspects to be tried in a court of
law. We demand appropriate actions, not words.”
It is thought that the
attack was carried out by the Lebanese Shi’ite group Hezbollah, on orders from
Tehran. In 2007, Interpol issued “red notices” calling for the arrest of six
people in connection with the attack.
They included former Hezbollah
commander Imad Mughniyeh, killed by a car bomb in 2008; Vahidi; and the former
commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, Mohsen Rezai.
Argentinian Jewish community commemorated the 17th anniversary of the bombing on
Monday at the AMIA center in Buenos Aires in the presence of Argentinian
President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, along with Foreign Minister
In a speech at the commemoration, Diana Malamud, a
representative of the Memoria Activa victims group of the AMIA bombing, referred
to the Iranian proposal by saying, “We do not accept their
“We will probably meet again next year and say the same
things and just replace 17 with 18,” she said. “It’ll be the same thing over
The secretary-general of the World Jewish Congress, Dan Diker,
rejected the possibility that the Iranian offer was credible.
offer to shed ‘all possible light’ on the circumstances of the 1994 AMIA bombing
reflects the regime’s long-standing strategy of intentionally misleading the
international community while using terror proxies like Hezbollah to wreak
destruction and assert control,” he said in a statement.
Shapira of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs think tank called the Iranian
statement a “PR exercise.”
“It’s clear that no one in Iran means this as
a serious offer,” he said. “They have a public relations problem at the moment
with international sanctions and especially with regard to the implication of
Hezbollah in the death of [former Lebanese prime minister] Rafik Hariri, which
explains the timing of the offer.”