May 24, 2013
Argentina, Iran sign agreement toward solving AMIA case
A “Memorandum of Understanding” including the creation of a “Truth Commission” between the governments of Argentina and the Islamic Republic of Iran and intended to resolve the 1994 terrorist bombing of the Argentine-Jewish Community Centre AMIA in Buenos Aires was signed today according to the Presidential web site.
The accord, which was signed in the city of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in Farsi, Spanish and English by Foreign Minister Héctor Timerman and his Iranian counterpart Ali Akbar Salehi, consists of ten points:
Among its most important passages the acoord calls for the “Establishment of the “Truth Commission” composed of international jurists to “examine all documentation submitted by the judicial authorities of Argentina and of the Islamic Republic of Iran. The Commission shall consist of five commissioners and two members appointed by each country (…) and they shall not be nationals of either country.”
Likewise, it is remarked in the document that “Once the Commission has been established, the authorities in Iran and Argentina will send each other and to the Commission's members all evidence and information held regarding the AMIA case.
Plus, and after reviewing the information received from both parties and held consultations with the parties and individuals, “the Commission will express its view and issue a report with recommendations on how to proceed with the case under the law and regulations of both parties. Both parties will consider these recommendations in their future actions.”
Furthermore, the Commission as well the Argentine and Iranian judiciary authorities will meet in Tehran “to proceed to interrogate those for which Interpol has issued a red notice.”
The Commission is authorized to ask questions to representatives of each party. Each party has the right to give explanations or submit new documentation during the meetings.
Even though being signed today, the document remarks that the agreement “will be forwarded to the relevant bodies of each country, whether Congress, Parliament or other bodies for ratification or approval in accordance with their laws.”
In 2007, Argentine authorities secured Interpol arrest warrants for five Iranians and a Lebanese in the bombing of the center, which killed 85 people. Iran denies links to the attack.
Iranian Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi is among the Iranian officials sought by Argentina, which is home to Latin America's largest Jewish community.
Western and Israeli sources have voiced concerns that Argentina may have lost its interest in pursuing investigations of the 1994 attack, as well as the bombing of the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires that killed 29 people two years earlier.
The Islamic Jihad Organization, believed to be linked to Iran and the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, claimed responsibility for the 1992 bombing.
Fernandez said the accord, which must be ratified by Congress, showed Argentina "would never let the tragedy (attack) become a chess piece in the game of wider geopolitical interests."
"Dialogue (is) the only way to resolve conflicts between countries, however severe they are," she said via Twitter.