Hezbollah did it. Iran runs Hezbollah. Er go, Iranians had a hand in the 1994 Buenos Aires Jewish center bombing that killed 85 people. 13 years later, justice may finally start catching up with the perps.
Iran’s top diplomat says the U.S. and Israel are pressuring Interpol to put five Iranians and one Lebanese on its most wanted list next week for the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center that killed 85 people.
But the lead prosecutor in Argentina’s worst terror attack says the case is not political. Prosecutors say they have enough evidence for Interpol’s 186-member general assembly to approve “red notices” for the six suspects during a meeting that opens Monday in Marrakech, Morocco.
There have been no convictions 13 years after an explosives-laden van leveled the seven-story Jewish community center in Buenos Aires.
Argentine prosecutors allege Iranian officials orchestrated the bombing and entrusted the Lebanon-based militant group Hezbollah to carry it out.
If the red notices go out, it’ll hardly be a triumph for international law and this case is certainly not a model for treating terrorism as a law enforcement matter. It’s taken 13 years, and there have been no convictions or justice of any kind. And there aren’t likely to be any, ever, because Iran will bollix the case up until the end of time if they can get away with it.
The case poses one of the toughest challenges for the international police liaison group based in Lyon, France, which mostly deals with routine police requests.
In Marrakech, Interpol is expected to outline arguments from both Argentina and Iran. If a simple majority decides in Argentina’s favor, the notices will be issued. Iran has asked that the issue be delayed until next year, a request expected to be voted on first.
“Iran has been permanently trying to politicize this,” Argentine prosecutor Alberto Nisman said before flying to Marrakech. “We are going to Morocco with our truth and we are going to explain why these persons are being sought, as simple as that.”
The July 18, 1994 attack struck hard at Argentina’s 200,000-member Jewish community, Latin America’s largest. It came just two years after a bombing that shattered Israel’s embassy in Buenos Aires, killing 29.
Many here remain indignant that no one has been convicted for the community center blast. Several Argentine suspects — civilians and former police officers accused of providing support to the bombers — were cleared in a trial three years ago.
Victims’ relatives have complained for years that the investigation was bungled. Amid allegations he paid a key witness, the investigating judge on the case was removed and later impeached.
Now Argentine officials and Jewish community leaders hope Interpol can give a boost to the country’s beleaguered justice system.
“Today the world is preoccupied by terrorism,” said Aldo Donzis, president of the Delegation of Israeli-Argentine Associations. “There are ever-fewer countries who do not live without worry for (terrorists’) actions.”
Iran’s constitution does not allow citizens to be extradited in cases like the bombing, Baharvand said. Instead, Iranian officials have proposed that Argentina agree to legal and judicial cooperation that would let Tehran share information on the case.
Argentina has turned down the proposal.