Almost 25 years after the bombing of a Jewish Center in Buenos Aires, Argentina’s President Mauricio Macri has asked friendly countries not to receive or protect or grant diplomatic immunity to any of the Islamic Republic officials who have an international arrest warrant out in their name.
During his speech at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) this week, President Macri insisted on his unrelenting commitment to bringing those guilty to justice, adding, “Our country will not cease in its objective to interrogate and eventually sentence all the people who are involved in the attack.”
He also asked Iran to cooperate with Argentine authorities to allow the investigation of the attack to move forward.
“In this regard, given that next year will be the 25th anniversary of the attack ...in Argentina, I should like to, once again, ask the Islamic Republic of Iran to cooperate with Argentine judicial authority, so as to advance the investigation into the most brutal attack we have suffered on our territory,” President Macri noted.
Stressing the necessity of bringing to justice all “international criminal fugitives”, Argentine President said, “Our country will not waiver from its goal of bringing all those involved in these attacks to Argentinian courts, so they can be tried and ultimately sentenced.”
Directly addressing all countries friendly to Argentina, President Macri also reiterated the Buenos Aires requests to be assisted by “avoiding hosting or sheltering any one of those accused”; for whom “international arrest warrants, on red part have been issued.
During two deadly explosions in front of Israel’s embassy (1992) and the community center, Argentinian Israelite Mutual Association (AMIA), (1994) in Argentina’s capital, Buenos Aires, at least 107 were killed and hundreds more injured. The AMIA attack alone left at least 85 dead.
Following primary investigations, Argentine judicial authorities pointed the finger at the Islamic Republic and accused Tehran of being the mastermind behind the deadly AMIA attack. Immediately, several Iranian officials, including Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and Ali Akbar Velayati, who were respectively the President and Foreign Minister of the Islamic Republic at the time.
Years later, international arrest warrants were issued for all the Iranians accused of being involved in the deadly terrorist action in Buenos Aires.
However, Tehran has repeatedly denied and dismissed the accusation as baseless.
Responding to President Macri’s annual speech at UNGA, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman said Iran strongly condemns the terrorist acts anywhere, and in any form, maintaining that Tehran has repeatedly condemned the AMIA bombing in Argentina and has sympathized with the families of the victims.
Bahram Ghassemi, rejected President Macri’s comments and described it as “a distortion of the facts”.
Since 2006 when the international warrants were issued, none of the accused have left Iran, save Ali Akbar Velayati who is currently the senior advisor of the Islamic Republic’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei for international affairs.
Velayati, Foreign Minister at the time of the AMIA attack, travelled to Moscow last July to deliver Khamenei’s personal message to the Russian President Vladimir Putin.
As soon as Velayati’s scheduled visit was announced, an Argentine federal judge, Rodolfo Canicoba Corral, investigating the 1994 Buenos Aires AMIA Jewish center bombing asked Russian officials to arrest him.
Nevertheless, President Putin decided to ignore the demand.
In 2016, ahead of another Velayati trip, Argentina made requests for his arrest to Singapore and Malaysia but was not successful.
According to Israeli sources, Iran also is believed to be behind the 1992 car bombing that destroyed the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires, killing 29 and injuring 242.