Wednesday marked the anniversary of the 1994 bombing of the AMIA Jewish community center in Buenos Aires, orchestrated by Iran with help from Hizballah. While the investigation into the bombing’s perpetrators has not yet concluded, having been hindered both by incompetence and by the Argentine government’s deliberate attempts to obstruct it, some progress has finally been made. Carolina Krauskopf writes:
After almost a decade [had elapsed since the bombing], the special prosecutors Marcelo Burgos (who later left his office) and Alberto Nisman began their investigation. Nisman concluded that Iranian and Hizballah officials planned the attack, and that the former Iranian president Ali Akbar Rafsanjani, along with other high-ranking Iranian government officials, gave the final approval at a meeting in Mashhad, Iran in August of 1993. Nisman’s investigations prompted Interpol to issue red notices (similar to international arrest warrants) to several key Iranian officials, but Iran ignored them.
When Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner became the Argentine president [in 2003], the AMIA investigation took a bizarre turn, and by 2013, Buenos Aires and Tehran had signed a memorandum of understanding and created a so-called joint “truth commission” to investigate the 1994 bombing together. Having the chief suspects in the terror attack investigating themselves was absurd, and the memorandum of understanding was dropped when Mauricio Macri became president in 2015.
Nisman charged that Kirchner and Hector Timerman, then the foreign minister, played a critical role in covering up Tehran’s role in the AMIA bombing. In January 2015, Nisman was found dead the day before he was due to testify before the Argentinian congress about his findings. While a federal court subsequently concluded that he was murdered, much about the case remains a mystery. . . .
[A]s the investigation stalled, Hizballah and Iran continued to build a more robust intelligence and operations network in the region. Following the attack in 1994, the U.S. State Department’s coordinator for counterterrorism highlighted that Iranian embassy staffs in Latin America had increased. This led to the belief that many of these diplomats had terror links or were intelligence agents. Throughout his career, Nisman warned of Iran’s and Hizballah’s expansive operations in the region and in 2013, Nisman’s 500-page report warned of clandestine intelligence stations in Latin America.
Both Kirchner and Timerman now await trial for their involvement in the cover-up.