Foreign and Defense Policy, Latin America

Argentina whitewashes Iranian terrorism: ‘What does it matter?’

Wikimedia Commons:  presidencia.gov.ar

Wikimedia Commons: presidencia.gov.ar

It is bad enough that the US national security establishment is ignoring the Iran/Hezbollah threat in the Americas. Now, Argentina’s president Cristina Kirchner has made matters worse by agreeing to help Iran whitewash its terrorist legacy. This week, her regime announced an accord with Tehran to form a joint “truth commission” to examine the deadly 1994 bombing of the Jewish community center in Buenos Aires, the worst terrorist attack in the history of the continent.

Successive Argentine investigations have implicated Iranian officials – including then “cultural attaché” Mohsen Rabbani and current defense minister Ahmad Vahidi – in a car-bombing that leveled the five-story building killing nearly 90 people and injuring hundreds more. (The bloody fingerprints of Iran and Hezbollah are all over a bombing of the Israeli embassy in the Argentine capital in 1992.)

Now, the Kirchner regime has agreed to work with Iran to jointly name a panel of experts from third countries to again sift through the evidence and interview witnesses and suspects – including senior Iranian officials. This is a shameful exercise because it pretends to advance the search for justice. But no impartial observer can trust a panel named by either, let alone both, of these governments to conduct a thorough and impartial inquiry.

Worse than an injustice, this cynical scheme allows Iran to cover its tracks. Never mind that Ahmad Vahidi inaugurated a training center for asymmetrical warfare in Bolivia in 2011. Never mind that Mohsen Rabbani manages a network of followers throughout South America, traveling repeatedly in recent years with false Venezuelan documents to evade an Interpol warrant.

What has Washington said about this shameful exercise? A belated expression of skepticism only after Israel denounced the sham.

I suppose that the United States’ “restored position in the world” requires it to keep its opinions to itself – even when governments are conspiring to hide the truth behind a terrorist attack. After all, as Secretary Clinton said, “What does it matter?

A bipartisan group in Congress thinks what Iran is up to in the Americas matters to the United States. Late last year, Congress passed a bill introduced by Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-SC) that will require a six-month review of Iran’s dangerous gambit in our neighborhood. More important, it requires a strategy for meeting this threat.

It remains to be seen whether the foreign policy agencies take this matter seriously before it is too late and Hezbollah and its Iranian masters teach us another deadly lesson about why intelligence and national defense matter – a lot.

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