Jerusalem expressed "surprise and astonishment" Monday at an Argentinean-Iranian decision to set up a "truth committee' to investigate the 1984 bombing of a Buenos Aires Jewish community center that killed 85 people.
The Argentina courts already found Iran culpable, and even issued Interpol warrants against five Iranians and a Lebanese for the attack. Iranian Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi is among the Iranian officials sought by Argentina. Two years before that attack, Islamic Jihad took responsibility for an attack on the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires that killed 29 people.
"The announcement came as a complete surprise and shock," Foreign Minister Yigal Palmor said of the establishment of the new committee. "We warned the Argentineans that the Iranians were trying to manipulate them and set a trap for them that they will use for their propaganda purposes."
Palmor said that Israel had no information on the mandate of the "truth committee" beyond what was written in the media, and was waiting to hear explanations from the Argentinean about what is being discussed.
An Argentinean newspaper reported two years ago that Buenos Aires was willing to stop investigating the bombings of Jewish targets there in the 1990s in return for improved economic ties with Iran. One diplomatic official said the establishment of the "truth committee" – which he said sounded like something straight out of North Korea – seemed to indicate there was something to that story, denied at the time by the Argentineans.