New proof Iran behind Argentina attack: Jewish leader


People hold portraits of victims of the terrorist attack against the Argentine Israelite Mutual Association institute (AFP, Alejandro Pagni)

(AFP) BUENOS AIRES — Argentine prosecutors have proof of Iranian involvement in a deadly 1994 attack on a Jewish community center building, the center’s president claimed Wednesday.

In a speech to mark the 18th anniversary of a bombing that killed 84, Guillermo Borger said evidence “of participation by diplomats known to be affiliated with Iran’s embassy in our country will surely come to light soon.”

The day was also marked by another bombing, this time an attack on Israeli tourists in Bulgaria, which Israel also quickly blamed on Iran.

Argentina condemned the attack, an example, it said, of “international terrorism raging again, in faraway places.” The government expressed “its profound solidarity” with Israel, the survivors, and the victims’ relatives.

Standing in front of the rebuilt Argentine Jewish Mutual Association in Buenos Aires, Borger urged Interpol to do more to ensure that arrest warrants on the alleged orchestrators of the 1994 attack are implemented.

Buenos Aires has accused Iran of having masterminded the car bombing and of using the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah to execute it.

Interpol has asked member states to arrest and extradite to Argentina eight Iranians — including current Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi, former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, and former Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Velayati.

In July 2011, Iran’s foreign ministry expressed its willingness to engage in “constructive dialogue” and to “cooperate with the Argentine government to shed light” on the attack, though it denied the eight accused were involved.

Some 300 people were wounded in the attack that leveled the seven-floor building, which housed Jewish charities. No one was ever been convicted.

It was the second large-scale, anti-Jewish strike in Buenos Aires that decade. In 1992, the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires was leveled in a bombing that killed 22 people and wounded 200.

Argentina has the largest Jewish community in the Americas outside the United States.

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