Iranian suspect in AMIA bombing denies involvement, blames influence of ‘Zionism’

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (JTA) — An Iranian suspect in the 1994 attack on the Buenos Aires AMIA Jewish Center has denied his country’s involvement and blamed Argentina for being “under the influence of Zionism.” Ali Akbar Velayati, a former Iranian foreign minister and Mohsen Rabbani, the former Iranian cultural attache in Argentina, both suspects in the bombing, in an interview denied Tehran’s involvement in the AMIA, that has come under renewed scrutiny after the death of an investigator. The accusation against Iran made by the Argentina’s federal justice department “is unfounded, false and a lie,” Velayati said in an interview Monday in Tehran. “Argentina should not be an instrument of Zionist politics. Argentina isn’t in the position to interrogate us, they should give us an answer over their weakness before Israel and the United States.” “We call on Argentina not to be an instrument of the Zionists,” Velayati, the Iranian Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1981 to 1997 when attacks on both the AMIA Jewish center and on the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires occurred, told Argentinian TV news channel C5N. “Here in this region the Zionists don’t have the courage to do anything against Iran, so they provoke others” to act against Iran. The enmity of Zionists against Iran is very clear,” added Velayati, currently head of Iran’s Center for Strategic Research. Asked if he will testify as is called for in the memorandum of understanding between Argentina and Iran to jointly investigate the AMIA bombing, Velayati replied: ”Argentina isn’t in a position to question officials of an independent country.” The interviews with Velayati and Rabbani were aired Monday night on a program called “MinutoUno.” C5N is a private channel run by Cristobel Lopez, a businessman close to the national government. Argentina’s justice department has accused the Iranian government of directing the bombing, which killed 85 and injured 300. Iran also is believed to be behind the 1992 car bombing that destroyed the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires, killing 29 and injuring 242. No arrests have been made in either case. AMIA special prosecutor Alberto Nisman , who first made the accusation against Iran and later alleged that Argentina’s president and other government ministers covered up Iran’s role in the bombing, was found dead in his Buenos Aires apartment on Jan. 16, hours before he was to present his allegations to Congress. Powered By | Full Text RSS Feed