Was Teheran behind the 1994 attack to a Jewish club in Buenos Aires?

Argentine courts ordered the international arrest of four Iranian former officials presumably connected with the case. PRAVDA.Ru presents a silenced version of the facts.

In July 1994, a terrorist attack destroyed the center of the Jewish community in Argentina, the AMIA building, killing more than 80 people. Since then, local and international organizations have been investigating the case without definitive results. Recently, the local intelligence service, headed by the former Peronist Deputy Miguel Angel Toma, issued a report in which he blames on Iran for being behind the explosion. The report was widely questioned by independent investigators and media, as prepared only to satisfy CIA requirements (i.e. to accuse Iran).

Based on such report, Judge Jose Galeano asked for the international capture of four former Iranian diplomats to Buenos Aires. The Government of Iran replied through a harsh statement, which may break off diplomatic ties between both countries.

Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman, Hamid Reza Azzefi, said on Sunday that the orders of capture issued by the Justice were a "serious mistake" of the Argentine Government. "Either Argentina has to make amends for the mistake, or Iran will adopt the necessary measures", said Mr Azzefi in Teheran.

The unexpected statement issued by the Iranian Government gravely concerned the Argentine Foreign Minister, Carlos Ruckauf: "It is not a decision of the Argentine Government, it is the outcome of a serious judicial investigation", he said. Then, Ruckauf asked for a formal explanation on Azzafi's words.

While Argentina is waiting for a formal answer from Teheran, the Iranian Embassy in Buenos Aires refuses to answer questions to the press. In fact, Iranian representatives did not answer the several calls PRAVDA.Ru made. "I know Russia is a friend country of Iran, but we cannot attend the press until a formal statement is finished", said to this correspondent an anonymous voice behind the phone.

Contacted by PRAVDA.Ru for this article, Juan Salinas, a former official investigator hired by the Jewish community on this case, denied versions that link Iran to the attack. "It's all a smoke screen. The AMIA explosion was plotted by people connected with the that-time Argentine Government headed by Carlos Menem. The local Federal Police executed the plan, along with Syria and the Argentine Intelligence Services", says Salinas.

According to Salinas and other sources, the Israeli Embassy to Buenos Aires systematically covered up the investigations because the bomb had two specific addressees: "Menem's officials and Israeli diplomats". "The attack is linked to Mafia interests ranging from money laundering to weapons-trafficking", says Salinas conclusive. "If Iran had a participation was secondary, as both countries (Syria and Iran) were allies at that time", adds the man who was fired by the Jewish community after publishing the results of his investigations.

As per court ruling, the local newspaper Pagina/12 considers Galeano incurred in many contradictions, as asks for the capture of four Iranian officials, but does not concludes that Iran is behind the terrorist act. At the same time, Galeano accuses Hezbollah of masterminding the blow up. However, does not ask for the arrest of any Hezbollah member. Salinas, indeed, thinks that a now dissident faction of the Lebanese terrorist group executed the operation, but not the entire organization.

Therefore, there is enough evidence to think that Iran, if not absolute innocent did not take the main part in the events. This is something that tribunals should investigate further. If Argentina is not able to give an accurate response in the shortest time available, then the case has to be presented before international courts. In the meantime eighty families still claim for a response that should have been given to them eight and a half years ago.

Hernan Etchaleco PRAVDA.Ru Argentina

Photo: July 18, 1994: the AMIA after the explosion. The building was located in the center of Buenos Aires.

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