This week marked the 21st anniversary of the horrific bombing of the AMIA, the major Jewish community center of Buenos Aires, killing 85 people and injuring hundreds in the worst terror attack in Latin American history. The occasion is grim, a timely reminder of the worldwide terror network centered in Iran, which in 2007 was found responsible for the attack by the official Argentine investigation. The probe was led by Alberto Nisman, a dedicated Jewish prosecutor who died in January under mysterious circumstances. He was scheduled to give public testimony two days later alleging collusion between the leaders of Argentina and Iran.
A thorough and compelling report on Nisman’s death — an apparent suicide that may have been a murder — can be found in the July 20 issue of The New Yorker. “Death Of A Prosecutor,” by Dexter Filkins, traces the complex interactions among Iranian officials, Hezbollah leaders and the highest echelons of the government of Argentina, including President Cristina Kirchner. Nisman succeeded in indicting seven Iranian government officials in 2006, including a former president and foreign minister, but “Iran’s leaders scoffed at Argentina’s demands to extradite the accused,” Filkins writes, “and even issued a warrant for Nisman’s arrest.”
The article highlights rampant corruption in Argentina’s judicial system and describes apparent efforts by former Iranian President Ahmadinejad to seek technological support from Argentina for Iran’s reactor in Arak.
While the focus of The New Yorker piece is on whether Nisman committed suicide or was murdered, it calls attention to the long and treacherous history of Iranian actions far from Tehran, including political assassinations and terror attacks. (The Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires was the target of a bombing in 1992 that killed 29 people; one of the Iranian suspects later became defense minister. No arrests were made.)
This is the same revolutionary government and leading exporter of terror that the U.S. and five other countries made an agreement with last week, noted Avinoam Bar-Yosef, the president and founding director of the Jewish Policy Planning Institute in Jerusalem. He told us he is deeply frustrated by “the lack of morality and values” in the Obama administration for “actively helping to create a new axis of power led by Iran and including Syria, Hezbollah and Hamas.” He said “every American of goodwill and integrity” should oppose the nuclear agreement simply because it “gives carte blanche” to an enemy of the U.S., and not only legitimates but now will release billions of dollars to “a country that continues to carry out terror around the world. And they are laughing at us.”
On this AMIA anniversary, “another year of delay, another year of justice denied” for the victims, according to AJC director of Latin Affairs Dina Siegel Vann, “Argentina continues to stumble in the search for justice.”
How sobering that Iran is now on the brink of widespread diplomatic acceptance and huge monetary reward without paying a price for its wicked ways.