Treason Charges in Argentina Over 1994 Bombing Cover-Up Prove Iran Was Responsible, Says AMIA President
The landmark arrests and indictments issued in Argentina on Thursday — following a federal inquiry into the cover-up of Iran’s responsibility for the 1994 bombing of the AMIA Jewish center in Buenos Aires — offer decisive proof that it was the Tehran regime which committed the crime, the president of AMIA said on Friday.
The arrests “confirm that Iran is the main party responsible” for the bombing of the AMIA building in downtown Buenos Aires on July 18, 1994, in which 85 people died and hundreds more were wounded, AMIA president Agustin Zbar told the Argentine Jewish newspaper Iton Gadol. Iran has always dismissed the charge of responsibility, despite the issuing of “Red Notices” for six Iranian and Hezbollah operatives wanted in connection with the bombing by Interpol, the global law enforcement agency.
In the first move of a possible treason trial that carries a maximum sentence of 25 years imprisonment, Argentine federal judge Claudio Bonadio on Thursday requested the country’s Senate to strip former President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner of her immunity from prosecution.
Former Foreign Minister Hector Timerman is also under house arrest, while several other Kirchner lieutenants have been detained by police or prevented by the authorities from leaving the country.
Bonadio’s inquiry into the allegations of collusion with Iran were based on the complaint against Kirchner and her associates assembled by former federal prosecutor Alberto Nisman — who spent a decade investigating the AMIA bombing, before being found murdered in his Buenos Aires apartment in January 2015. At the heart of Nisman’s complaint was the claim that, in January 2011, Timerman signed a secret pact with this Iranian counterpart pledging both countries to a so-called “truth commission” regarding the AMIA bombing. Subsequent testimonies to Bonadio’s inquiry showed that increased trade and even the exchange of nuclear technology were approved by the pact.
Noting that 23 years had passed since the AMIA bombing, Zbar said, “We have consistently traveled a long and arduous path to demonstrate, with ample evidence, the intellectual and material responsibility of citizens and officials of the Iranian state and of the terrorist group Hezbollah, in the attack against the headquarters of AMIA.”
Zbar added that he was encouraged that the Argentine authorities were also investigating local complicity in the attack, following news that Carlos Telleldin, a businessman accused of supplying the truck used in the AMIA bombing, will face a retrial nearly two decades after a previous prosecution against him collapsed. Zbar said it was his hope that the coming Telleldin hearing and “the progress of the investigation into the death of Alberto Nisman” would eventually lead to the trial of the Iranians who planned and executed the AMIA atrocity.
“AMIA from the beginning strongly opposed the pact with Iran,” Zbar stated. “The search for justice has been our priority since July 18, 1994, and we will never give up until all those guilty of that crime against humanity are convicted and imprisoned.”
On Friday, thousands of Kirchner supporters staged a rally in Buenos Aires’ famed Plaza del Mayo to protest what they depicted as government-sponsored persecution of the former president. Kirchner has repeatedly claimed that Nisman’s allegations against her and her government are a fabrication.