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LATIN AMERICA

Argentina demands that Iran follow up on Jewish center bombing inquiry

President Fernández de Kirchner publicly asks Tehran government to keep its commitment

Cristina Fernández de Kirchner during her UN address on Tuesday night.
Cristina Fernández de Kirchner during her UN address on Tuesday night. AFP

Argentinean President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner on Tuesday night called on Iran to follow through with a signed agreement in which the Tehran government committed itself to assisting an investigation into the 1994 bombing of a Jewish center in Buenos Aires — an attack that left 85 people dead and dozens injured.

Fernández de Kirchner used her address before the UN General Assembly to publicly ask Iran whether its parliament has actually approved the memorandum of understanding signed by both governments on January 27. This accord produced a fierce backlash from opposition groups and the Jewish community in Argentina, who accused the Fernández de Kirchner government of negotiating with a nation that has been internationally isolated because of its nuclear research program.

If there are Iranians implicated, the only one I can speak with is Iran"

Argentinean prosecutors have concluded that at least five top Iranian officials at their embassy in Buenos Aires were involved in organizing the blast that took place at the AMIA center. The five returned to Iran and have not made themselves available to Argentinean prosecutors.

“The case has been blocked for 19 years, and if there are five Iranians who are implicated, the only one that I can speak with so that a judge can take their testimony is Iran,” the president said.

“It is obvious but in this special world — and my country is also special — there are obvious things that must be explained.”

It was the first time that the Argentinean leader had publicly demanded that Iran take positive steps in the case. Over the past nine months, the government in Tehran has said that it was awaiting approval from its parliament.

Fernández de Kirchner said that she hoped that a fresh dialogue would begin with the new Iranian President Hassan Rowhani. “The president of France mentioned the nuclear case as something that is important for Iran. I want to mention the AMIA case.

“Now I hope that they tell us if they approved the accord or when are they going to approve it. We want answers and I think that sufficient time has passed.”

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