Iran and Argentina Plotted to Cover up the Bombing of a Jewish Center, and Then to Kill Alberto Nisman for Investigating It

In 1997, an Argentinian lawyer named Alberto Nisman was asked to take the leading role in prosecuting fifteen policemen who stood accused of carrying out the deadly bombing of the AMIA Jewish Center in Buenos Aires three years prior. Nisman soon realized that the officers were being framed, and began investigating the case anew—an investigation which led him to uncover Iran’s responsibility for the bombing, and a conspiracy by the Argentine government to obscure it. While his death in 2015—just before he was supposed to testify about his findings to the Argentinian legislature—was initially ruled a suicide, it soon became clear that he was murdered. Gustavo D. Perednik explains Tehran’s role in the cover-up, and in Nisman’s death:

The plot to cover up Iran’s responsibility for the AMIA bombing began on Saturday, January 13, 2007, when the Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called on his Venezuelan counterpart, Hugo Chávez, at the Miraflores presidential palace in Caracas. The two leaders claimed to be the vanguard of an anti-imperialistic war against the United States and regarded each other as close allies. . . . Chávez not only became the junior partner in an alliance with the Iranians but also drew other countries such as Argentina, Bolivia, and Nicaragua into the Iranian orbit. . . .

Apparently, during [a] secret meeting with Chávez, Ahmadinejad expressed his concern with the imminent Interpol convention in France, where Nisman, the Argentinian representative, planned to restate his demand that Interpol monitor the Iranians [suspected of having helped plan and carry out the AMIA bombing]. Ahmadinejad probably offered Chávez a substantial sum of money, as Venezuela purchased (with Iranian money) six-billion dollars of the Argentinian debt by the end of 2008. . . .

In October of 2010, . . . [Chávez] finally persuaded [Argentina’s President Cristina Kirchner] to accept the benefits for both of their countries of making an agreement with Iran. Three months later, Foreign Minister Hector Timerman signed a secret agreement [with Iran] in Aleppo. Further impetus for this subterfuge derived from the Obama administration’s [insistence] that Iran was no longer an enemy and from the [promise] that the Iranian government would pour endless resources into Argentina.

Kirchner and Timerman were not averse to contacting Mohsen Rabbani, the mastermind of the AMIA terror attack. Moreover, they assured Iran that the withdrawal of Interpol red alerts against Iranian terrorists would follow the signing of an open agreement. The plan was to set up a fictitious “Commission of Truth” with judges from both Iran and Argentina. . . . The commission was given the task of shedding light upon the terror attack and its motives, despite the fact that the secret treaty of 2011 had designated a different role for the “Commission of Truth”: . . . to bury the case by spreading false information and fomenting confusion. . . . The legal brief [prepared by] Alberto Nisman on January 14, 2015 provides extensively the details of this project and discloses the real purpose of the commission.

Read more at Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs

More about: Alberto Nisman, AMIA bombing, Argentina, Hizballah, Iran, Politics & Current Affairs, Venezuela

Leaked Emails Point to an Iranian Influence Operation That Reaches into the U.S. Government

Sept. 27 2023

As the negotiations leading up to the 2015 nuclear deal began in earnest, Tehran launched a major effort to cultivate support abroad for its positions, according to a report by Jay Solomon:

In the spring of 2014, senior Iranian Foreign Ministry officials initiated a quiet effort to bolster Tehran’s image and positions on global security issues—particularly its nuclear program—by building ties with a network of influential overseas academics and researchers. They called it the Iran Experts Initiative. The scope and scale of the IEI project has emerged in a large cache of Iranian government correspondence and emails.

The officials, working under the moderate President Hassan Rouhani, congratulated themselves on the impact of the initiative: at least three of the people on the Foreign Ministry’s list were, or became, top aides to Robert Malley, the Biden administration’s special envoy on Iran, who was placed on leave this June following the suspension of his security clearance.

In March of that year, writes Solomon, one of these officials reported that “he had gained support for the IEI from two young academics—Ariane Tabatabai and Dina Esfandiary—following a meeting with them in Prague.” And here the story becomes particularly worrisome:

Tabatabai currently serves in the Pentagon as the chief of staff for the assistant secretary of defense for special operations, a position that requires a U.S. government security clearance. She previously served as a diplomat on Malley’s Iran nuclear negotiating team after the Biden administration took office in 2021. Esfandiary is a senior advisor on the Middle East and North Africa at the International Crisis Group, a think tank that Malley headed from 2018 to 2021.

Tabatabai . . . on at least two occasions checked in with Iran’s Foreign Ministry before attending policy events, according to the emails. She wrote to Mostafa Zahrani, [an Iranian scholar in close contact with the Foreign Ministry and involved in the IEI], in Farsi on June 27, 2014, to say she’d met Saudi Prince Turki al-Faisal—a former ambassador to the U.S.—who expressed interest in working together and invited her to Saudi Arabia. She also said she’d been invited to attend a workshop on Iran’s nuclear program at Ben-Gurion University in Israel. . . .

Elissa Jobson, Crisis Group’s chief of advocacy, said the IEI was an “informal platform” that gave researchers from different organizations an opportunity to meet with IPIS and Iranian officials, and that it was supported financially by European institutions and one European government. She declined to name them.

Read more at Semafor

More about: Iran nuclear deal, U.S. Foreign policy