The agreement between Argentina and Iran is received in Israel with astonishment and provoked deep disappointment. The Argentinian ambassador in Israel will be summoned to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Jerusalem to provide explanations for this, his government’s latest move. Israel’s Ambassador in Buenos Aires, Ms. Dorit Shavit, will request a meeting with the Argentinian Foreign Minister, Hector Timerman, in order to clarify the motivations for this move.

As soon as contacts between Argentina and Iran had begun, we have asked to be updated on the discussions, but we received no response from the Argentinean authorities.

Israel is clearly and understandably concerned by the matter. The 1994 bombing targeted the AMIA Jewish Community Center, and caused 85 dead and hundreds of wounded, Jews and non-Jews alike. Though the attack took place on Argentinean soil and was aimed at Argentinean citizens, the findings of the ensuing investigation by Argentinean authorities has brought up a clear resemblance with the bombing of the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires, which occurred two years earlier. The proven relation between the two attacks grants us the natural right to follow the investigations and to expect the perpetrators and their sponsors to be brought to justice, particularly in times when to suffer from the Iranian terror plague around the world.

The Argentinean authorities have pointed at Iran as the sponsor of the attack, and took the necessary steps with Interpol in accordance with their findings. In 2006, Argentine prosecutors formally accused the government of Iran of carrying out the attack and a judge issued arrest warrants for seven senior Iranian officials, including Ahmad Vahidi, who is now Iran’s Minister of Defense. In 1994, Vahidi was the head of Iran’s Quds force, and is wanted by Interpol for the bombing.

Now, this recent agreement raises severe questions: it establishes a committee whose recommendations are non-mandatory, and it provides the country which all the evidence points at, namely Iran, with the capacity to delay indefinitely the committee’s works. It is doubtful whether this is how justice will be rendered.

The Ambassador of Argentina in Israel was summoned today to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Jerusalem for a clarification talk.  The MFA’s Deputy Director-General for Latin America, Ambassador Itzhak Shoham, conveyed Israel’s astonishment and disappointment at the Argentinean government’s decision to collaborate with Iran after the latter’s responsibility for the bombing of the AMIA Jewish Community Center was exposed by the investigation conducted by the Argentinean authorities themselves.

Amb. Shoham protested the unacceptable attitude of the Argentinean government towards Israel since the beginning of contacts between Buenos Aires and Tehran.

Although a deadly attack destroyed the Embassy of Israel in Buenos Aires two years prior to the AMIA bombing  (killing 29 persons , including four Israeli diplomats  and wounding 250)  and although the findings of the Argentinean investigations have pointed to the great resemblance between the attacks and the involvement of Iran and Hizbullah in both, Argentina has not responded to Israel’s legitimate requests to be informed of its new diplomatic moves with Iran,  nor of the way in which Argentina envisages bringing the perpetrators to justice.

Argentina’s approach is particularly disappointing given the intimate relationship to which Israel is accustomed with Argentina, a very friendly country, Shoham stated.

Amb. Shoham added, “A lack of resolve in dealing with terrorism sends a message of weakness. Had Argentina dealt resolutely with the 1992 attack on the Israeli Embassy, the 1994 AMIA bombing might not have happened.”

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