Alberto Nisman, the Argentine prosecutor investigating Hizballah’s 1994 bombing of the AMIA Jewish center in Buenos Aires, discovered evidence of collusion between the Argentinian government and Iran in covering up the latter’s role in the attack. Along the way, Nisman also uncovered an expanding Iranian presence in South America, as Dexter Filkins reports:
According to former Venezuelan officials, Hugo Chávez introduced [then-Iranian president Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad to leaders throughout Latin America. Among other things, Iran and Venezuela had established a weekly flight between Caracas and Tehran, and the two governments had set up a two-billion-dollar fund for investments in both countries. American officials say that Chávez also granted safe haven to operatives from the Iranian Revolutionary Guards and from Hizballah. In 2007, Chávez agreed to allow Iran and Hizballah to use Venezuela as the base for a drug-trafficking and money-laundering network. . . .
As [Argentinian president] Cristina Kirchner solidified her relationship with Chávez, Argentina grew closer to Iran. During her first term, trade between the two countries doubled, with Iranians buying large quantities of Argentine grain. . . .
In Nisman’s view, Kirchner and [Foreign Minister Héctor] Timerman were so eager to strengthen their alliance with Iran that they were willing to sacrifice national sovereignty. “Let there be no doubt,” Nisman wrote. “The criminal plan consisted of eliminating the charges that the Argentine courts had filed against the Iranian officials [in connection with the AMIA bombing], and the best means that was found to clear those charges, provide immunity, and portray the matter in the tidiest possible manner to a deceived nation was to sign [an agreement with Iran to drop the investigation].”