Argentina expressed outrage Friday over Iran’s nomination of a man wanted in connection to a 1994 Buenos Aires bombing that killed 85 people as the next defense minister.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad tapping Ahmad Vahidi for the post is “an affront to Argentine justice and the victims of the terrorist attack” on the Jewish community center, the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
News of the nomination was received “with grave concern and deserves the most energetic condemnation of the Argentine government,” it said.
In 2007, Interpol issued what it calls a Red Notice on Vahidi, a former head of Al Quds, an elite unit of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard. Interpol under the notice distributed Argentina’s arrest warrant for Vahidi to member countries.
The July 9, 1994 bombing leveled the seven-floor Argentine Jewish Mutual Association building in Buenos Aires, killing 85 people and wounding 300. No single individual has ever been convicted for the bombing.
Here’s Gareth Porter in the Nation in 2008 questioning the ongoing allegations:
Although nukes and Iraq have been the main focus of the Bush Administration’s pressure campaign against Iran, US officials also seek to tar Iran as the world’s leading sponsor of terrorism. And Team Bush’s latest tactic is to play up a thirteen-year-old accusation that Iran was responsible for the notorious Buenos Aires bombing that destroyed the city’s Jewish Community Center, known as AMIA, killing eighty-six and injuring 300, in 1994. Unnamed senior Administration officials told the Wall Street Journal January 15 that the bombing in Argentina “serves as a model for how Tehran has used its overseas embassies and relationship with foreign militant groups, in particular Hezbollah, to strike at its enemies.”
This propaganda campaign depends heavily on a decision last November by the General Assembly of Interpol, which voted to put five former Iranian officials and a Hezbollah leader on the international police organization’s “red list” for allegedly having planned the July 1994 bombing. But the Wall Street Journal reports that it was pressure from the Bush Administration, along with Israeli and Argentine diplomats, that secured the Interpol vote. In fact, the Bush Administration’s manipulation of the Argentine bombing case is perfectly in line with its long practice of using distorting and manufactured evidence to build a case against its geopolitical enemies.
After spending several months interviewing officials at the US Embassy in Buenos Aires familiar with the Argentine investigation, the head of the FBI team that assisted it and the most knowledgeable independent Argentine investigator of the case, I found that no real evidence has ever been found to implicate Iran in the bombing. Based on these interviews and the documentary record of the investigation, it is impossible to avoid the conclusion that the case against Iran over the AMIA bombing has been driven from the beginning by US enmity toward Iran, not by a desire to find the real perpetrators.