Foreign and Defense Policy, Middle East and North Africa

Two Iranian presidential candidates wanted for 1994 terrorist attack in Argentina

Image Credit: Shutterstock

Image Credit: Shutterstock

After the government of Argentine President Cristina Kirchner agreed in January to work with Iran to form a so-called “truth commission” to investigate the 1994 bombing of the Jewish community center (AMIA) in which eight Iranian officials are implicated, many wondered what these two countries were up to. Yesterday, it was revealed that two of the contenders to succeed Mahmoud Ahmadinejad are persons named as suspects in the murderous AMIA attack. Apparently, the “truth commission” farce was part of a cynical campaign to launder the image of two accused terrorists running to be Iran’s next president. It remains to be seen whether Kirchner’s role in this scandalous exercise is due to stupidity or treachery.

It was made public yesterday that Mohsen Rezai and Ali Akbar Velayati were among eight men pre-selected by Iran’s Guardian Council as qualified candidates for the June 14 presidential election. Both are named by Argentine investigators as playing a role in the 1994 attack that killed 85 and wounded hundreds more in a mid-day attack in the heart of Buenos Aires. (The other implicated Iranians are former President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani; former intelligence chief Ali Fallahijan; current Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi; radical cleric Mohsen Rabbani; Ahmad Reza Asghari; and former Ambassador to Argentina Hadi Soleimanpour. Notwithstanding the fact that Interpol has issued “red notices” to impede their international travel, Vahidi visited Bolivia in 2010 and Rabbani has traveled in the Americas with false identification issued by the chavista regime in Venezuela.)

Iran relied on Argentina in the 1980’s for nuclear cooperation, which was ended by then-President Carlos Menem in a move that many believe provoked the AMIA bombing and a similar attack two years earlier that leveled the Israeli embassy in Argentina’s capital. In July 2011, I chronicled efforts by Ahmadinejad to get the late Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chávez to intercede with the left-wing government in Argentina to resume nuclear collaboration. I also revealed a document signed by Chávez authorizing the first of two quarter-billion-dollar payments to Argentina for joint Iranian-Argentine development projects that were to be carried out in Venezuela. Several US congressmen wrote then-Secretary of State Clinton asking her to look into these suspicious transactions, but Foggy Bottom was quick to dismiss any suspicions without conducting any serious inquiry.

Just before releasing the list of presidential nominees, the Iranian government on Monday announced — not coincidentally — the approval of the “truth commission” accord — demonstrating how important the Argentina charade is to Iran’s presidential succession. Argentina’s congress ratified the agreement earlier this year, but in Iran the joint inquiry was approved by Ahmadinejad in lieu of congressional approval.

Is the Kirchner government a witting or unwitting accessory-after-the-fact in two terrorist attacks? Was the “truth commission” created to cover Iran’s terrorist tracks in the Americas? Did the Kirchner regime accept millions in exchange for this dangerous appeasement? Or is there even more behind Kirchner’s cozy new relationship with the nuclear rogue regime of Iran?

One thing is inevitable: The truth behind Tehran’s role in the Buenos Aires bombings will never be expunged by crooked politicians in the Casa Rosada. On the contrary, it is only a matter of time before their sinister corruption is revealed.

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