Iran says had no role in 1994 bombing of Argentina Jewish group

Date: 11-17-06

BUENOS AIRES (AFP) - Iran's envoy to Argentina rejected claims Tehran was involved in a deadly 1994 attack against a Jewish organization in Buenos Aires, and said in an interview he hoped dialogue would help demonstrate this.

Iran announced Monday it had ordered the arrests of Argentine investigators, after Buenos Aires issued warrants against senior Iranian officials for a 1994 bombing of the AMIA Jewish charity building that killed 85 people and injured 300.

"We can prove with documents that Iran had nothing to do with the attack. I am talking concrete proof," Iranian Trade attache Moshen Baharvand said in an interview published in the daily Clarin.

Baharvand, who is the senior Iranian diplomat in Argentina, stressed the two countries would first need to set up a mechanism for bilateral talks.

"We need a channel of dialogue. Iran is willing to start dialogue with the Argentine government," he said.

Argentine Judge Rodolfo Canicoba Corral last week issued international arrest warrants for Iran's former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and other former top Iranian officials in connection with the 1994 bombing.

Iran promptly responded by ordering arrest warrants to be issued against Corral and other investigators in the case.

Former judge Juan Jose Galeano was accused of "taking bribes to falsify evidence against officials of the Islamic republic," state radio quoted Iran's attorney general as saying, adding that the money had come from "Zionist circles."

Baharvand said Iran issued the warrants because Canicoba Corral and the other investigators threatened "the security and the reputation of Iran."

Lawyers for Argentine Jewish Mutual Association have long accused the Iran-backed Shiite militia Hezbollah, based in Lebanon, of carrying out the attack.


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