May 20, 2013
Lower House approves Iran accord
The debate began at noon and was expected to drag on into the early hours of the morning but with its comfortable majority, the government was expected to pass a controversial bill, widely condemned by the opposition. The main issues slammed were the government’s unilateral approach, the secrecy of negotiations with Iran and the lack of an obligatory component to ensure the suspects are probed or eventually arrested.
As the debate began, Foreign Relations Committee chairman Guillermo Carmona defended the accord by affirming: “We want the Iranian officials to testify, this is the objective,” something “which Argentina has long yearned for.”
Two deputies, Laura Alonso (PRO) and Patricia Bullrich (Union For Everyone) requested and were granted questions of privilege to discuss separate issues. Amid shouts of “shut up” by Kirchnerite deputies, Alonso denounced the insult to her person by FpV Deputy Andrés Larroque during Tuesday’s committee debate, called for him to apologize and apologized herself for having retorted offensively. Bullrich denounced the presence of Mirkin and Eliceche as a “mockery” which “stains the credibility of institutions.”
Regarding the bill, Alonso affirmed that “it will be impossible for the suspects to be probed” or “interrogated,” because “Iranian law will prevail.” Bullrich assured the agreement contradicts the Constitution, which prohibits the executive branch’s interference in judicial cases, and condemned trusting “a country which denies the Holocaust.”
Radical (UCR) Deputy Ricardo Alfonsín asserted the “accord does not represent the opinion of the immense majority of Argentines,” adding that “signing this would be signing a blank cheque for those accused of the worst terrorist attack in Argentine history.”
Civic Coalition leader Elisa Carrió accused the Fernández de Kirchner administration of “diverting foreign relations” towards the “Middle Eastern conflict with is nuclear implications,” while South Project Deputy Fernando Solanas accused all governments since the attack under the Carlos Menem presidency of having been accomplices in covering up the domestic investigation.
The agreement, if passed, is likely to be appealed, as legal consultants confirmed the treaty could essentially infringe Articles 19, 108 and 118 of the Constitution.
Protest outside congress
A large crowd of people from diverse backgrounds congregated before Congress at 6pm, calling for deputies to vote against the bill, with many streets blocked.
APEMIA grouping leader Laura Ginsberg proclaimed the “severity” of the situation and condemned the “policy of impunity of Cristina Fernández de Kirchner’s government”, which has allegedly covered up the local connection and fostered an unclear Iranian connection.
AMIA leader Guillermo Borger affirmed earlier: “If it is approved, we will meet with out legal advisers to decide what to do and resolve whether or not to take legal action.”
— Herald with DyN, Telam, Ambito.com