News Brief – Jan 28, 2013
Israeli diplomats admit to being ‘stunned’ by the signing of an agreement between Iran and Argentina on Sunday to investigate the 1994 bombing of a Buenos Aires Jewish community centre.
Israel has long accused Iran of sponsoring the terror attack.
“We are stunned by this news item and we will want to receive from the Argentine government a complete picture as to what was agreed upon because this entire affair affects Israel directly,” Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Yigal Palmor, said on Monday.
For her part Argentinean President Cristina Kirchner welcomed the agreement with Iran.
“It’s historic. Nearly 19 years after the attack on AMIA, a legal instrument is for the first time being established between Argentina and Iran,” she was quoted as saying.
Following political pressure from the US and Israel, Argentina formally accused Iran of having carried out the 1994 bombing attack on the AMIA.
However, Iran has vehemently and consistently denied any involvement in the bombing, which killed 85 people and injured nearly 300 more.
The announcement by Argentina to appoint a commission to jointly investigate the bombing with Iran is seen as a diplomatic victory for the Islamic Republic to counter efforts to isolate it.
Israel however, has said it will demand an explanation from Argentine’s ambassador.
“The agreement between Argentina and Iran is received in Israel with astonishment and deep disappointment,” Israel’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement. “The Argentine ambassador in Israel will be summoned to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Jerusalem to provide explanations.”
Meanwhile, other Jewish groups across the globe have expressed shock and indignation over Sunday’s announcement.
“Forming a joint truth commission with Iran is a farce,” Shimon Samuels, Paris-based director of international relations for the Simon Wiesenthal Center, told Reuters on Monday.
“It will whitewash terrorism and encourage the mullahs to become patrons of further attacks.”
The five “truth commissioners” will be jointly named and will not be residents of Argentina or Iran, according to a document posted on President Cristina Fernandez’s Facebook page.