Rescue workers search for survivors and victims in the rubble left after a powerful car bomb destroyed the Buenos Aires headquarters of the Argentine Israeli Mutual Association (AMIA), in this July 18, 1994 file photo.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
As the P5+1 (the US, UK, France, China, and Russia plus Germany) and Iran enter the final stretch of nuclear arms negotiations in Vienna, Tehran’s diabolical influence on the world was being commemorated in Buenos Aires.
Last week, an Israeli delegation headed by outgoing Agriculture Minister Yair Shamir was in Argentina marking the 23rd anniversary of the bombing of the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires.
The bombing, which killed 29 and injured hundreds, took place on March 17, 1992. Because elections were taking place on the same day, the commemoration ceremony, which was particularly large this year, was postponed.
More than two decades have passed since the bombing, which is believed to have been carried out by Iran and its proxy Hezbollah. No one has been brought to justice. However, former ambassador to Argentina Itzhak Aviran said last year that Israel had killed most of those responsible.
“The large majority of those responsible are no longer of this world, and we did it ourselves,” Aviran told the Buenos Aires-based AJN Jewish news agency last March.
Yet, the stories of the embassy bombing, and the 1994 bombing of the Jewish community center in Buenos Aires, also known as AMIA or Argentinean Israel Mutual Association, refuse to go away and continue to be relevant to understanding Iran’s pernicious influence, not just in the Middle East, but around the world.
On January 17, special prosecutor Alberto Nisman, who had been leading an investigation into Iran’s involvement in the AMIA bombing for over a decade, was found dead in his apartment. An independent forensic investigation commissioned by Nisman’s former wife, a senior Argentinean judge, has found that Nisman was murdered.
Nisman was on the verge of giving testimony on an elaborate cover up scheme involving the governments of Argentina and Iran. Argentinean President Cristina de Fernandez Kirchner, her Foreign Minister Hector Timerman and other figures connected to the government had reportedly agreed to discontinue investigations into Iran’s involvement in the AMIA bombing as part of a massive trade deal.
Some have speculated that Iran was involved.
Meanwhile, just last week Doug Farah, director of IBI Consultants, presented testimony to a US Senate Foreign Affairs subcommittee headed by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Florida) in which, among other things, he outlined the strong ties between Argentina and Venezuela. First the Chavez government and now the Maduro regime in Caracas have been instrumental in fostering ties between Buenos Aires and Tehran, claimed Farah – including in the field of nuclear technology.
Farah also noted that, in addition to Venezuela, countries like Ecuador, Nicaragua, and Bolivia have developed drug trafficking and terrorism ties with Iran and Russia as part of a rabidly anti-Western, anti-America sentiment that has led to an alignment of Iranian and Russian interests with those of several South and Central American countries.
And just last week, Veja, a Brazilian magazine, ran a story claiming that starting in 2007 Argentina – through Venezuela’s brokering – helped Iran develop its nuclear weapons program.
A leading Argentinean journalist who spoke with The Jerusalem Post was skeptical and noted that there were many inaccuracies in the Veja story and that it was unclear what precisely were the direct ties between Buenos Aires and Tehran. It was nevertheless likely true, according to the journalist, that Venezuela had provided the former Kirchner government with large sums of cash and that Argentina had helped Venezuela develop its nuclear program.
This might have enabled Venezuela to then provide Iran with the Argentinean technologies.
On the 23rd anniversary of the bombing of the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires, we should remember that Iran’s nefarious influence in South America and elsewhere is not a lesson of history. It remains a living reality.
The P5+1 nations have a moral obligation to take this into account as they negotiate with the Islamic Republic the terms of a nuclear weapons deal. If an Iran devoid of nuclear weapons has succeeded so well in making its evil influence felt throughout the world, we dare not imagine what this influence will be when the mullahs have the benefit of a nuclear umbrella.