Israeli envoy praises Argentina for 1994 bombing probe (REUTERS) By Louis Charbonneau NEW YORK 03/30/12 9:19pm EDT)
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(Reuters) - Israel´s U.N. envoy on Friday praised Argentina for
reinvigorating its investigation of a deadly 1994 bombing of a Jewish
center in Buenos Aires that Argentine authorities have blamed on Iran.
"I think they´re re-energizing" their work on the case, Israel´s U.N.
Ambassador Ron Prosor told reporters.
"In the past there was not a real motivation to check (the facts),"
he said. "I see it differently today. One should give them credit for
it. I see it differently today on the Argentinean side."
The bombing of the Argentine Israeli Mutual Association building
killed 85 people and injured hundreds of others. In 2007, Argentine
authorities secured Interpol arrest warrants for five Iranians and a
Lebanese in connection with the attack.
Tehran denied links to the bombing but offered talks with Argentina
last July to start "shedding light" on the case.
The bombing virtually froze Argentina´s relations with Iran, though
the two countries recently have expressed a desire for better
Argentine President Cristina Fernandez told the U.N. General Assembly
last September that Buenos Aires was ready to engage in dialogue with
Concerned about a possible warming of ties between Iran and
Argentina, including a sharp increase in bilateral trade, Western and
Israeli officials expressed concern that Buenos Aires was quietly
reaching out to Tehran while they were seeking to isolate Iran over
its nuclear program.
They also voiced concerns that Argentina might have lost its interest
in pursuing investigations of the 1994 Jewish center attack, as well
as the 1992 bombing of the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires, which
killed 29 people.
The Islamic Jihad Organization, believed to be linked to Iran and the
Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, claimed responsibility for the
For more than a decade Argentina appeared to do little to investigate
the two attacks. But former President Nestor Kirchner vowed to reopen
the cases when he took office in 2003, calling the failure to push
the cases "a national disgrace."
Several years later former Iranian President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani
was among those indicted by Argentine prosecutors for the 1994
bombing and sought by Interpol.
Fernandez, who is Kirchner´s widow and was re-elected to a second
term last year, and Argentine Foreign Minister Hector Timerman were
invited to visit Israel this year by Israel´s Deputy Foreign Minister
Daniel Ayalon, Argentina´s Jewish News Agency reported earlier this
Ayalon made the invitation during a visit to Argentina to mark the
20th anniversary of the Israeli embassy bombing, according to the
news agency, which quoted him as saying the trip would deepen "the
level of strategic and political dialogue between Argentina and
Israel." (Additional reporting by Helen Popper in Buenos Aires;
Editing by Paul Simao) (© Thomson Reuters 2012. 03/30/12)
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