Argentine government spokesperson angers Jews by saying Israel should be involved in AMIA probe
(JTA) – A spokesman for Argentina’s president hits out at the argument that Israel should help investigate the suspected perpetrators of the 1994 AMIA Jewish center bombing that killed 85 people.
Israel was not the target of the attack – the bombing, widely believed to have been carried out by Iranian-backed terrorists, took place in Buenos Aires.
Gabriela Cerruti, spokesperson for Argentine President Alberto Fernandez, wrote on Twitter on Sunday that Mohsén Rezaee, Iran’s current vice president for economic affairs and the main suspect in the AMIA investigation, should have been arrested by Interpol during a recent controversial visit to Nicaragua. Argentina issued an international arrest warrant for Rezaee in 2006.
Argentine Jewish lawmaker Waldo Wolff was quick to slam Cerruti’s statement, arguing that the Argentine government left Rezaee alone and failed to follow through on its stated goal of bringing justice to the AMIA investigation — which has dragged on for decades. decades and involves several trials and the death of Jewish investigator Alberto Nisman.
Argentina’s ambassador to Nicaragua attended the recent inauguration of President Daniel Ortega there, alongside Rezaee.
“Interpol in each country operates under local political guidelines,” Wolff wrote to Cerruti on Twitter. “He is not independent. Nicaragua hugged Rezai. Our government did nothing… An obvious complicity.
In response, Cerruti said Rezaee is “wanted by Interpol and Mossad”, the latter being Israel‘s intelligence agency. These two groups “have far more intelligence resources than a Latin American embassy in a Caribbean country.”
Wolff and others have condemned Cerruti, arguing that Israel has no interest in the matter, since no Israelis were targeted or killed. The Jewish group AMIA issued a statement saying that “it is Argentine justice that accuses Iranian officials of having planned and executed the attack… The investigation into the worst terrorist attack perpetrated in our country, whose target was an Argentine institution, concerns the authorities Argentina”.
Wolff called Cerruti’s remarks ‘alienating’ for Argentine Jewsreported The Daily Beast, and a Paris-based Argentinian journalist joked that “Argentinians must be busy with other matters.”
“All of this is objectively a scandal,” an unnamed Argentine judicial source told The Daily Beast.
In 2015, Alberto Nisman was found dead in his apartment just hours before he was due to present evidence against then-president, now vice-president Cristina Kirchner, for ignoring and covering up Iran’s involvement in the bombing. She was absolved of charges last year.