Iran Responds to Arrest Warrants for 1994 Bombing of Buenos Aires Jewish Center by Summoning Accusers to Teheran Court
On July 18, 1994, in Buenos Aires, Argentina, an explosives-laden van detonated outside the Jewish Community Center, leveling the seven-story building, killing 85 people and injuring some 200 more. No one has ever been brought to justice for this bombing.
Argentine prosecutors have long contended that the bombing plot was hatched at a 1993 meeting in Mashad, Iran, between representatives of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guards (recently added to the U.S. State Department's list of terrorist organizations) and the Lebanese-based terrorist group Hezbollah. As reported in the Telegraph.co.uk yesterday, the current Argentine prosecutor on the case has issued six arrest warrants, naming five top Tehran officials and Lebanese Hezbollah Lebanese operative Imad Moughnieh, one of the world's most notorious terrorists.
The most prominent Iranian official named in the warrants is Ahmad Vahidi, who is Iran's deputy defense minister, a brigadier-general in the Islamic Revolutionary Guards, and in charge of the Iranian regime's defense procurement and rocket and missile programme. At the time of the bombing, the deadliest attack on a Jewish target since the Second World War, General Vahidi was the commander of the Quds (Jerusalem) Force, the Guards' international operations wing, accused by the West of organising foreign terrorist activities. Others named includeAli Fallahian, the former intelligence minister who is now a senior security advisor to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and Mohsen Rezai, then commander-in-chief of the Revolutionary Guards.
Based on the beefed-up case presented to Interpol, the international police coordinating agency, on November 7 Interpol added the names of the six men coverd by the Argentine arrest warrants to its most-wanted list, over furious Iranian objections. Teheran's envoys mounted a fierce defence ahead of Interpol's general assembly in Morocco last week, accusing Israel and the US of trying to hijack its operations to harm Iran's image. International delegates rejected their arguments, voting by 76 to 14 to issue the "red notices" after a heated closed-door session. Such notices are circulated by Interpol to member countries naming individuals wanted for extradition and seeking the assistance of national police forces.
Now the mullahs' regime has apparently decided that the best defense is a good offense. According to the Associated Press, Iran has summoned five Argentine nationals to appear in court over accusations by Teheran that they orchestrated a scenario to implicate Iran in the 1994 terrorist bombing. The five Argentines summoned by Iran include Argentina's former Interior Minister Carlos Corach; president of the Buenos Aires Jewish Jewish Community Center Ruben Beraja; Judge Juan Jose Galeano; prosecutor Eamon Mullen and a fifth man, identified only as Jose Barbaccia. Iranian Deputy Prosecutor General, Yadollah Alizadeh said that the five should report to the Teheran Justice Department, but gave no timing. If they fail to do so, Iran will demand Interpol issue international arrest warrants for them, he was quoted as saying.