Iran approves AMIA deal

Iran has approved the memorandum of understanding with Argentina to create a joint “truth commission” to probe the 1994 terrorist attack on the AMIA Jewish community centre, Iranian Embassy chargé d’affaires Ali Pakdaman informed a local radio yesterday.

The accord was signed between the two governments in Ethiopia on January 27 (also International Holocaust Remembrance Day) and rushed through Argentina’s Congress in the course of four weeks, but it took Tehran almost four months to ratify its side of the agreement without even going through its Parliament.

“The agreement was approved yesterday (Sunday) by organs of the government in Iran according to Point 6” of the memorandum of understanding, said Pakdaman, explaining that in his country it was normally not necessary for MOUs to be submitted to Parliament.

Point 6 stipulated that the agreement be submitted “to each country’s relevant organs,” for approval.

The point in question noted the agreement could be submitted to “Congress, Parliament or other bodies for their ratification or approval in conformity with their laws.”

And this is exactly what lran had done, according to Pakdaman.

Iranian officials would now be testifying according to Iranian law, Pakdaman added, while Argentina understands that both the judge and prosecutor of the case would be able to interrogate them.

Israel and Argentine Jewish community leaders have rejected from the start the agreement to create the investigative commission of legal experts to probe the 85-death AMIA attack.

DAIA Vice-President Waldo Wolff yesterday reiterated the Jewish umbrella group’s rejection of the agreement, saying that instead of advancing justice it ensured the impunity of the six suspects Argentina suspects of carrying out the attack, four of whom were presidential hopefuls.

Wolff added that Iran’s acceptance of the agreement while sidestepping parliament diminished it further, confirming that it was unconstitutional.

Almost from the outset Argentine courts have held Tehran responsible for the attack and Interpol issued “red notice” international warrants for the arrest of six former and Iranian officials, including current Defence Minister Ahmad Vahidi who was allegedly one of the masterminds.

Iran had earlier been suspected in the car-bomb destruction of the Israeli Embassy with 29 deaths two years previously on March 17, 1992.

Yesterday the agreement also came under fire from outside the Jewish community.

Dissident Peronist deputy Alfredo Atanasof said that the MOU confronted the government with its own Jewish citizenry and complicated Argentina’s alignment with the rest of the world. In his opinion, the agreement would never have been possible without “connivance” between the two governments and accused his colleagues from the ruling Victory Front of having been duped by a country that denies the Holocaust and the right of the Jewish state to exist, as well as posing a nuclear threat to the world.

Senator Gerardo Morales (Radical-Jujuy) thought that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s decision to dodge his parliament betrayed that he had no majority there and warned that Iran would not allow the Argentine judiciary to come close to its officials.

By Buenos Aires Herald


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