Alberto Nisman .
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The sudden, tragic death of Argentinean special prosecutor Alberto Nisman this week has sparked speculation that foul play might be involved. Whether he took his own life or was murdered, which seems more likely, Nisman’s death provides another instance of Iran’s diabolical influence throughout the world and underlines the pressing need to prevent the mullahs of the Islamic Republic from obtaining nuclear weapons.
No matter who is responsible for his demise, the investigation of Iran and Hezbollah’s involvement in the 1994 bombing of the Jewish community center (AMIA) in Buenos Aires must go on.
Nisman, who had been investigating the AMIA massacre for the past decade, was found in his apartment in Buenos Aires with a single gunshot to the temple and a .22 caliber handgun beside the body. The shot was fired hours before he was slated to testify in a closed-door hearing in Argentina’s Congress against President Cristina Kirchner, Foreign Minister Hector Timerman and an assortment of former politicians, military officials and police officers.
Nisman said that Kirchner, Timerman and the others were covering up Iran’s involvement in the AMIA terrorist attack, which killed 85 and wounded more than 300. It was one of the worst attacks on Diaspora Jews since the Holocaust.
According to Nisman, Argentina’s political leadership agreed to block efforts to indict high-ranking Iranian officials in exchange for an agreement to sign a multi-billion dollar trade deal in which Iranian oil would be swapped for Argentinean grain. The deal was never finalized, but the accusation, if proven true, could ruin Kirchner, Timerman and others.
That’s why some say Nisman was murdered by those who had an interest in preventing the publication of the results of his investigation. Kirchner, Timerman and others Nisman implicated all would have liked to see him silenced. The same went for the Iranians.
Another theory is that enemies of Kirchner and Timerman on the Right – perhaps in cahoots with Tehran – were behind his murder. By pinning the crime on the present political leadership, they hope to discredit those close to the Kirchner administration ahead of elections in October.
In any case, the AMIA massacre and the failure to bring those responsible to justice represent part of the larger story of how Iran makes its inimical influence felt throughout the world. Just imagine the dimensions of this evil if it is amplified by nuclear weapons capability.
The intelligence community is convinced Tehran was responsible for planning the AMIA attack and Hezbollah was responsible for carrying it out. Over the years, the courageous and single-minded Nisman was able to gather enormous amounts of evidence – apparently with the help of the US and Israel – that implicated specific Iranian officials – including Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and then-president Ali Akbar Rafsanjani who allegedly made the final decision to attack – and Hezbollah – which carried it out. Nevertheless, not a single person has been brought to justice.
Argentinean president Nestor Kirchner, Cristina Kirchner’s late husband, said the failure to prosecute those responsible for the AMIA attack was a “national disgrace.” The former archbishop of Buenos Aires, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, now Pope Francis, was among those who signed a petition 10 years ago calling for justice, but to no avail.
Iran has ruthlessly used a combination of intimidation and economic benefits to influence policy decisions in countries such as Argentina. The AMIA bombing and the 1992 bombing of the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires, in which 29 people were killed and 242 were wounded, were in retaliation for then-president Carlos Menem’s decision – as part of a wider reorientation toward the West – to terminate training of Iranian nuclear technicians in Argentina and the transfer of nuclear technology to Iran.
Menem admitted after the AMIA bombing that he feared for his life. Nisman, who had over the years received his own share of death threats from the Iranians, blamed Menem for not doing enough to pursue investigations.
The strong-arm tactics of Iran’s mullahs are well known. The CIA estimates that between 1989 and 1996, the Hezbollah network carried out 200 serious attacks around the world killing hundreds of people. Today Iran is expanding its influence by involving itself in nearly every conflict in the region, from Yemen to Iraq to Syria.
The Islamic Republic has succeeded in wreaking havoc and exerting influence through purely conventional means. Imagine what it would be capable of doing if it gets nuclear weapons.
Iran must be prevented from obtaining nuclear weapons while at the same time, the AMIA investigation must be carried out thoroughly until its conclusion.