Iran has 'blood on its hands' over 1994 Argentina blast

By Jamie Michaels, July 17, 2012

Wednesday marks the 18th anniversary of the fatal bombing of the AMIA Jewish community centre in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Eighty-five people were killed by the blast with hundreds wounded.

Investigators have linked Iran to the attack, a fact highlighted by Ronald S. Lauder, president of the World Jewish Congress and Jack Terpins, president of the Latin America Jewish Congress (LAJC). Mr Terpins said it was "irritating and completely unacceptable to the international Jewish community" that the architects of the terrorist attack had escaped punishment.

Mr Lauder echoed these claims and declared: "The Iranian regime has blood on its hands, not only by suppressing dissent at home but also by sponsoring terrorism world-wide. What the world saw 18 years ago in Buenos Aires it can still see today, be it in Syria, in Lebanon or in other places."

The calls for Iran to be held responsible for its actions follow last year's implementation by the Argentinian Senate of new laws to tackle terrorism in the country, in addition to allegations that Argentina's foreign minister agreed to abandon the investigation into Iran's role, in return for favourable trade links. However, despite the Iranian government and terrorist organisation Hizbollah being charged over the attack in 2006, no-one has ever been convicted.

Mr Terpins called for greater unity between Western nations, declaring: "It is lamentable that some nations, including in Latin America, are still fostering their relationship with Iran. Justice must be done if we want to avoid that such terrible acts happen again in the future."

On July 17 and 18, the LAJC will host the sixth edition of a meeting of regional parliamentarians and will primarily focus on the prevention of terrorism. Argentine prosecutor Alberto Nisman, who is in charge of the AMIA investigation, will give an update on the state of the probe.

Last updated: 5:36pm, July 17 2012