The blast hit the Argentine Jewish Mutual Association (AMIA), a Jewish charities association with its headquarters in the  capital, Buenos Aires.

Alberto Nisman, the Argentinean chief prosecutor, said: "We deem it proven that the decision to carry out an attack July 18, 1994, on the AMIA was made by the highest authorities of the Islamic Republic of Iran which directed Hezbollah to carry out the attack."

The two prosecutors urged the judge to seek international and national arrest orders for Ali Rafsanjani, who was Iran's president between 1989 and 1997.

The judge, under Argentine law, is allowed an indefinite amount of time to accept or reject the recommendations.

They also were asking the judge to detain several other former Iranian officials, including Ali Fallahijan, a former intelligence chief, and Ali Ar Velayati, a former foreign minister.

Van attack

They also said they were urging the judge to order the arrest of two former commanders of Iran's Revolutionary Guards, two former Iranian diplomats and a former Hezbollah security chief for external affairs.

The prosecutors told the news conference that they suspected that Hezbollah never undertook activities outside Lebanese territory "save under orders directly emanating from the regime in Tehran".

Eighty-five people, mostly Jews, died and more than 300 were injured when a bomb was detonated in a van inside the gates of the seven-storey AMIA building on July 18, 1994.

It was the worst terrorist attack on Argentinian soil and no one has yet been tried for the bombing.