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October 6, 2022 2:28 pm

As Iran Protests Intensify, US Sanctions Interior Minister Wanted for Bombing of Jewish Center in Argentina

avatar by Ben Cohen

Iranian Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi. Photo: Reuters/Morteza Nikoubazl

The United States on Thursday announced sanctions against seven senior Iranian officials in response to the repression of escalating protests against the Islamist regime. The group includes Interior Minister Ahmad Vahidi, who is also the subject of a “red notice” — an international arrest warrant — issued by the international law enforcement agency Interpol for his alleged role in the 1994 bombing of the AMIA Jewish center in Argentina.

In an official statement, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken confirmed that the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated Iran’s Minister of the Interior, Ahmad Vahidi, and Iran’s Minister of Communications, Eisa Zarepour, along with five other “senior leaders of Iran’s security apparatus for the continued violence against peaceful protesters and the shutdown of Iran’s Internet access.”

Blinken added that Thursday’s action “follows the Sept. 22 designation of the Morality Police, its senior leadership, and other senior security officials, and the release of Iran-related General License D-2, which together demonstrate that the United States stands with the brave citizens and the brave women of Iran who right now are demonstrating to secure their basic rights.”

Eighty-five people were killed and more than 300 wounded in July 1994 when a truck loaded with explosive deliberately crashed into the AMIA center in downtown Buenos Aires.

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More than a decade after the bombing, in 2007, Interpol issued “red notices” for the arrest of the six Iranian and Hezbollah operatives who planned the attack. The driver of the vehicle used in the AMIA attack was a Lebanese suicide bomber, Ibrahim Hussein Berro.

Of the original six individuals sought for the bombing, one of them — the notorious Hezbollah terrorist Imad Mughniyeh — is dead, having been killed in a 2008 car bombing in Damascus.

Along with Vahidi, the other surviving four — Ali Fallahijan, Mohsen Rabbani, Ahmad Reza Asghari, and Mohsen Rezai — are also understood to be in Iran.

Vahidi has also served as Iran’s defense minister, and was blacklisted by the United States in 2010 for ties to Iran’s nuclear and weapons of mass destruction programs.

Alongside Vahidi and Zarepour, the US also sanctioned Hossein Sajedinia, the deputy operations commander of Iranian law enforcement forces; Yadollah Javani, the deputy political commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps; Vahid Mohammad Naser Majid, the head of the Iranian Cyber Police; Hossein Nejat, an IRGC commander; and Hossein Rahimi, who oversees the morality police’s attempts in Tehran to compel women to wear a head covering, the hijab, according to the Treasury.

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