Prosecutor asks for scuttling of Argentina-Iran deal on bombing investigation
An Argentine prosecutor Wednesday asked a judge to declare unconstitutional an agreement with Iran to probe the 1994 bombing of a Buenos Aires Jewish center after charges Tehran ordered the attack.
The attorney general in the case, Alberto Nisman, said the agreement constitutes an “undue interference of the executive branch in the exclusive sphere of the judiciary.”
The van bombing of the building of the Argentine Jewish Charities Federation, or AMIA, left 85 people dead and 300 others injured in the worst attack of its kind in the South American country.
Argentina charges that Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shiite movement, carried out the attack under orders from Iran. Tehran’s clerical regime denies the charges.
Since 2006, Argentine courts have demanded the extradition of eight Iranians, including former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, former defense minister Ahmad Vahidi and Mohsen Rabbani, Iran’s former cultural attache in Buenos Aires.
In February, Argentina’s congress approved, at the request of the executive branch, an agreement with Tehran to form a truth commission to investigate the bombing, consisting of five members who don’t come from either Argentina or Iran.
It also authorized an Argentine judge to travel to Iran to question the former officials accused of involvement.
Iran finally confirmed in September it had approved the deal, after several demands from Argentina.
But the two sides have still not named the members of the investigative commission, and there has been no agreement on a date for Argentine investigators to travel to Iran to interview suspects.
Leaders of Argentina’s Jewish community, which at 300,000 people is the largest in Latin America, have criticized the accord.
[Image via Agence France-Presse]