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