Claims of Argentina-Iran deal on Jewish centre bombing case

By Jennifer Lipman, March 28, 2011
Hundreds were injured when the AMIA building was bombed

Hundreds were injured when the AMIA building was bombed

Israel has demanded a response from Argentina’s foreign minister to allegations that he agreed to abandon the investigation into Iran’s role in the deadly 1994 bombing of a Jewish centre, in return for favourable trade links.

According to an Iranian cable from January quoted in an Argentine newspaper, Argentina's Foreign Minister Hector Timerman offered to halt the ongoing investigation so as to improve “economic relations with Iran”.

More than 80 people were killed in the explosion, which was triggered by a car bomb, in the Buenos Aires Jewish-Argentine Mutual Association building.

The terrorist attack reduced the seven-floor building to a pile of rubble and prompted one of the most complex and long-running investigations in the country’s history.

In October 2006 the Iranian government and Hizbollah were formally charged over the blast, and the former Iranian president and eight other suspects indicted. Argentina’s president at the time, Nestor Kirchner, later publicly denounced Iran for its involvement at the UN.

However in a case marred with allegations of bribery and false testimony, nobody was charged. The Argentine Supreme Court voted to re-open the investigation in 2009.

A spokesman for Israel’s Foreign Ministry, Yigal Palmor, called on Mr Timerman to confirm or deny the allegations. He said: "If this is true, then it would be a display of infinite cynicism and a dishonor to the dead.”

Last updated: 4:59pm, March 28 2011