US skeptical of Argentina-Iran 'truth c'tee'

"Iran’s record of cooperation with int'l authorities is profoundly deficient," State Department says of panel for AMIA bombing.

By JPOST.COM STAFF,
January 31, 2013 21:51
2 minute read.
AMIA bombing in Buenos Aires

Argentine bombing. (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
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The United States said Thursday that it was skeptical that a just solution would result from the formation of a joint Argentinian-Iranian "truth committee" to investigate the 1994 AMIA bombing.

"Iran’s record of cooperation with international authorities is profoundly deficient, which underlines the concern that its engagement on this matter be focused on achieving justice promptly," the State Department said at a daily press briefing.

"We continue to stress that the Iranian government has a responsibility to cooperate fully with Argentine authorities in seeing that the perpetrators are brought to justice," it added.

Jerusalem said Wednesday that it will avoid getting into a nasty public “ping-pong” with Buenos Aires over the matter of the panel.

The spokesman’s comment came after Buenos Aires responded angrily to Israel’s summoning of its ambassador to the Foreign Ministry on Tuesday, where Israel protested the move.

The Argentinean Foreign Ministry issued a statement slamming Israel’s protest, saying that summoning the ambassador was “improper” and “against the traditional, friendly relationship” between the two countries.

“The attack against the people of our country on July 18, 1994, did not involve any Israeli citizen,” the statement read. “The victims were mostly Argentines and included six Bolivians, two Poles and one Chilean.”

Israel’s position, as was made clear to Argentinean Ambassador Atilio Norberto Molteni, is that it was an interested party in the matter because the Argentineans themselves linked the 1994 bombing to a blast two years earlier at the Israeli Embassy, which killed 29 people.

One Foreign Ministry official said it was not clear whether Argentina’s foreign minister, Hector Timerman, would meet with Israel’s ambassador to Buenos Aires, Dorit Shavit, who requested a meeting on the matter.


Officials in Jerusalem said that Timerman seemed to have assuaged concerns of the Jewish community in Argentina, whose leaders he met on Tuesday.

After meeting with the two leading Jewish organizations on Tuesday, as well as with relatives of those killed in the blast, Timerman – according to Argentinean press reports – said that the agreement with Iran “does not ignore the local justice’ system’s investigation.”

Argentina itself has found Iranians culpable, and asked Interpol to issue warrants for the arrest of six officials, including Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi.

According to The Argentina Independent newspaper, the agreement, signed by Timerman and his Iranian counterpart, Ali Akbar Salehi, on Sunday, outlines the procedure by which the Iranians will be interrogated.

The paper reported that the implicated Iranians will be questioned by Judge Rodolfo Canicoba Corral and Prosecutor Alberto Nisman, both Argentines. The interrogations will also be overseen by a Truth Commission consisting of five non-Argentine or Iranian legal figures, two chosen by each country and one agreed upon by both.

An Argentinean newspaper reported two years ago that Buenos Aires was willing to stop investigating the bombings in return for improved economic ties with Iran.

Timerman has denied that report.

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