Monday, May 23rd | 22 Iyyar 5782

December 13, 2017 12:27 pm

Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif Confirms Kirchner Government in Argentina Asked Interpol to Revoke ‘Red Notices’ for AMIA Bombing Planners

avatar by Ben Cohen

Protesters in Buenos Aires demonstrate against the Kirchner government’s pact with Iran. Photo: Reuters / Marcos Brindicci.

Argentina’s beleaguered former president, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, received a further blow from an unexpected quarter on Wednesday, with the Iranian foreign minister’s confirmation that her government had asked Interpol, the global law enforcement agency, to close its file on the 1994 bombing of the AMIA Jewish center in Buenos Aires.

Kirchner and her foreign minister, Hector Timerman, have routinely denied that a goal of their 2013 pact with Iran was the revoking of the six “Red Notices” issued by Interpol for five Iranians and one leading Hezbollah terrorist in connection with the bombing. Both have also denied making representations to Interpol in that regard.

But a November 4, 2017 letter from Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif to his Argentine counterpart, Jorge Faurie, flatly contradicted that account. In the letter — written in response to an Argentine government request for more information about the pact — Zarif noted with satisfaction that the “Foreign Minister of Argentina (Timerman) in his meeting on May 30, 2013 with the then General Secretary of Interpol ensured compliance with the requirements contained in the memorandum by the government of Argentina.”

In an earlier paragraph, Zarif explained that “compliance” took the form of a request to “Interpol to end its obligations with respect to the AMIA case” — the July 18, 1994 terrorist attack planned by Iran and Hezbollah that resulted in the deaths of 85 people and injuries to hundreds more.

The leaked letter from Zarif, published by several Argentine news outlets on Wednesday, came just days after Timerman was placed under house arrest by federal judge Claudio Bonadio.

Bonadio has also asked Argentina’s Senate to strip Kirchner of her immunity from prosecution, following his federal inquiry into the charges originally made by  Alberto Nisman — the federal prosecutor investigating the AMIA bombing — concerning the Argentine government’s active collusion with Iran. Nisman was murdered in Buenos Aires in January 2015.

In his ruling, Bonadio wrote that the Iran’s objective in the 2013 pact was to compel “the Argentine Republic to cease to hold that country internationally responsible” for the AMIA attack. The pact with Iran was declared illegal and voided in December 2015, shortly after the election victory of President Mauricio Macri.

One American policy analyst who has closely tracked the AMIA case said that Zarif’s letter demonstrated that “Nisman, once again, is vindicated.”

“It’s tragic that Nisman was murdered for seeking to expose the truth,” Toby Dershowitz — senior vice president at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) think tank in Washington, DC — told The Algemeiner. “It would be another tragedy and a miscarriage of justice if Argentina does not identify who ordered his murder.”

On Twitter, a leading Argentine news outlet reminded readers that, almost three years ago, Timerman had publicly accused Nisman of falsely alleging that the Argentine government had asked Interpol to revoke the Red Notices.

The Clarin newspaper went on to observe that on January 18, 2015 — three days after Timerman delivered that speech — “Nisman was found dead. Now Iran confirmed his suspicion.”

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