'Iran willing to discuss Argentinian bombings'

Foreign Ministry in Tehran offers to conduct "discussion" with Argentine authorities in efforts to clear its name and renew economic ties.

July 16, 2011 23:54
2 minute read.
Iran Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi

Iran Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi 311. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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The Iranian Foreign Ministry stated on Saturday that Tehran was ready to discuss the deadly bombings at the Argentine Jewish Community center in Buenos Aires in 1994 in order to "prevent the possibility that the investigation will continue in the wrong direction."

Iran seeks to clear suspicion that it was in any way involved in the attacks which killed 85 people, and offered to conduct a discussion with the Argentine authorities about the bombings in efforts to clear its name and renew economic ties with Argentina.

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Iran's suspected involvement in the 1992 bombing of the Israeli Embassy and 1994 bombing of the Jewish Community Center in Buenos Aires have recently interfered with Iranian attempts to extend influence to South America. In June, Bolivia deported Iranian Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi because he is suspected to have planned the bombings.

Vahidi is among the senior Iranian officials accused by Argentine prosecutors of being behind the attack that leveled the Argentine Israeli Mutual Association (AMIA) building in Buenos Aires. Iran denies any links to the bombing.

In March the Islamic Republic requested the Argentinian government to cease to investigate the circumstances of the bombings.

According to the Argentinean tabloid Perfil, the Islamic Republic asked the South American country to drop the ongoing investigation into the bombings which are believed to have been carried out by Hezbollah and Iran and could implicate Iranian Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi.

“Argentina is no longer interested in solving these two attacks, but would rather improve its economic relations with Iran," the newspaper quoted an Iranian document it said it had obtained as saying.

When the Israeli Foreign Ministry became aware of the Iranian offer, it threatened to cancel the upcoming visit of Argentinian Foreign Minister Hector Timerman if the report turned out to be true.

Ultimately, Alberto Nisman, the prosecutor handling the court case on behalf of the government, dismissed the Perfil report as “absolutely preposterous, absurd,” telling Prensa Judia, a local Jewish newspaper, that the investigations into the attacks continue without hindrance.

Israel, Argentina and the US have all blamed Iran for the bombings, which were allegedly carried out by Hezbollah. Iran’s Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi is one of five people wanted by Interpol for the Jewish Center bombing.

Gil Shefler contributed to this report.

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