J'lem unsettled by Argentina response to bomb probe

Officials insist Iran needs to hand over terrorists responsible for AMIA bombing that killed 85 people in 1994.

Argentina bombing of Israeli embassy 311 (R) (photo credit: Reuters)
Argentina bombing of Israeli embassy 311 (R)
(photo credit: Reuters)
Argentine Foreign Minister Héctor Timerman’s positive reaction to an Iranian statement saying it was willing to cooperate with Buenos Aires in its search for the terrorists responsible for the AMIA building attack 17 years ago raised eyebrows Monday in Jerusalem.
“The investigation is over,” one official said, adding that what was needed now was for the Iranians to hand over those responsible for the attack that killed 85 people, and wounded 300, on July 18, 1994.
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The official said the statement by the Argentine Foreign Ministry raised questions again about the validity of a report in Argentine tabloid Perfil in March about whether Timerman offered to drop the probe into the attack in exchange for better economic relations with Iran.
Timerman angrily said at a press conference in Jerusalem in April that he did not have to answer questions not based in reality.
The Iranian Foreign Ministry issued a statement earlier in the week saying it was willing to cooperate in the search for those who carried out the blast at the Jewish center in Buenos Aires.
On October 25, 2006, Argentine prosecutors Alberto Nisman and Marcelo Martínez Burgos formally accused Tehran of directing the bombing, and blamed Hezbollah for carrying it out.
Iran’s Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi is one of five people wanted by Interpol for the attack.
According to a report Sunday in the Buenos Aires Herald, Timerman said regarding the Iranian statement that “if what was published in international press is confirmed, it would be an unprecedented and very positive step forward.” He was quoted as saying that he was awaiting an official confirmation from his Iranian counterpart, Ali Akbar Salehi.
But Nisman dismissed the Iranian statement, saying at a press conference that if the Iranians wanted to cooperate, what they needed to do was to turn over to the Argentine authorities those accused of the attack.
Earlier this year Nisman dismissed the Perfil report as “absolutely preposterous, absurd,” telling a local Jewish newspaper that the investigations into the attacks continue unhindered.