May 19, 2013
CFK agrees to talks with Iran over bombings
President lashes out at IMF during UN speech: this is not a game
Argentina yesterday finally accepted the request for a bilateral meeting made by the Iranian Foreign Ministry in the context of the ongoing UN General Assembly, as announced by President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner in her speech.
The talks, proposed by the Iranian Embassy last week, which have been widely criticized by Jewish leaders both in Argentina and abroad, are to focus on cooperation regarding bringing the perpetrators of attacks on the AMIA Jewish Association in 1994 and the Israeli Embassy in 1992 to justice.
“For us Argentines, the attacks on AMIA (which killed 85 and injured 300 on July 18, 1994) and the Israeli Embassy remain a gaping wound,” said the President yesterday, before demanding concrete results from any meeting that was to take place. The President also used her UN speech to react to comments by the International Monetary Fund over inflation as reported by the statistics bureau INDEC.
Fernández de Kirchner also said that any decision on any proposal made by Tehran would be analyzed by the Argentine Congress and the victims families would be consulted.
“My country, that continues to insist on dialogue as a tool for the Malvinas Islands case, has decided to instruct Foreign Minister (Héctor Timerman) to participate in a bilateral meeting. I expect results from this meeting, and I expect (Iran) to want to cooperate with investigating the attacks,” said the President.
“We have demanded co-operation from Iran countless times. In 2010 and 2011, when faced with a lack of response, I proposed that a third country be appointed as host for a trial,” said Fernández de Kirchner, who concluded that part of her speech by focusing on the victims’ families: “I want you all to have the certainty that this President will not take any decision without consulting you first.”
Iran has vehemently denied any role in the bombings for the past two decades, and it was unclear whether its decision to agree to a meeting now was related to mounting international pressure over its nuclear programme. Under sanctions and increasingly isolated due to its nuclear programme, Tehran has few allies and needs friends. Argentina is also on the 35-nation board of the UN nuclear watchdog, where Iran’s nuclear programme is a key issue.
Meanwhile, Reuters reported in December, citing UN diplomats, that Argentina has quietly explored closer relations with Iran. The countries have seen growing trade ties, with Iran one of the biggest buyers of Argentine maize.
JEWISH LEADERS SKEPTICAL
The head of the DAIA Argentine-Israeli Association stated yesterday that his group had always been “skeptical of dialogue with Iran” and that “any meeting must have the objective of establishing the conditions under which a legal process can advance.”
According to DAIA director Aldo Donzis, Iran “will never hand over the suspects, despite the international arrest warrants in their name, which is why we have always been skeptical of dialogue with Iran — we have already seen this before.”
However, Donzis said that “the fact that (Fernández de Kirchner) will share results in Congress is positive because this suggests that this will not be mere conversation but a meeting to set terms for a trial,” although the DAIA head also stated his belief that Iran sought to “drag out time as much as possible while pretending to be predisposed to collaborating.”
The executive director of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre, Sergio Widder, echoed the skepticism, stating that “Argentina fights for justice and Iran promotes terrorism.”
Herald with DyN, Reuters, Ambito.com