Iran approves memorandum to probe AMIA bombing

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (JTA) — Iran confirmed its approval of the memorandum signed nine months ago with Argentina to jointly probe the bombing of the AMIA Jewish community center in Buenos Aires.

The approval was announced Saturday following a meeting between Argentine Foreign Minister Héctor Timerman and his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif at the United Nations headquarters in New York.


In her address last week before the General Assembly, Argentine President Cristina Fernández called on Iran to provide an update on the status of the Memorandum. “We are hoping they will tell us that the agreement has been approved (in Iran) and to settle a date when a judge will be able to fly to Tehran,” she told the Assembly.

There also has been no agreement on a date for Argentine investigators to travel to Iran to interview suspects. The next step will be the exchange of documents officially announcing that the governments have approved the Memorandum, of Understanding.

The next bilateral meeting will be held in early November in Geneva. Following the meeting, both governments must agree on the details and procedures of the “Truth Commission” made up of independent legal experts, neither of them from Argentina and Iran, who will be analyzing the up-to-date evidence on the AMIA attack and issue a report.

The accord was first signed in January this year to jointly investigate the 1994 bombing of the AMIA Jewish community center that took place in Argentina’s capital city on July 18, 1994, killing 85 and injuring hundreds.

On Feb. 15, hundreds of Argentine citizens attended a protest rally against the pact. “We ask Argentine society’s forgiveness for wasting a great privilege that democracy gave us,” Sergio Bergman, a lawmaker and Reform rabbi, said in a speech at the rally. “We have the first Jewish foreign minister, and that is why we say sorry.”

There were political moves against the pact, and also judiciary ones. On April 4, AMIA and the national Jewish political umbrella group DAIA filed a joint petition with the Federal Administrative Court, arguing that Argentina’s Congress acted unconstitutionally in voting for the memorandum of understanding launching the probe.

“The Iranian regime has showed repeated signs of unwillingness to cooperate with the investigation, while ignoring all the requirements on the matter,” AMIA and DAIA jointly said in a statement.