Iran rejects Argentina bomb charge

Iran has rejected charges by Argentine prosecutors that Tehran and Hezbollah were behind the 1994 bombing of a Jewish charities office in Buenos Aires.

    The Jewish centre bombing killed 85 people

    Mohammad Ali Hosseini, Iran's foreign ministry spokesman, said, "The new Zionist propaganda is done with political intentions, and the negative fabrication aims to spread division between the Iranian and Argentinian people."

      

    "It wants to divert the anti-Israeli atmosphere among Argentinian public opinion from the Zionists' aggression against Lebanese and Palestinian people," he added.

     

    On Wednesday, Argentine prosecutors accused Iran and Hezbollah of the 1994 attack on the Argentine Jewish Mutual Association (AMIA) in which 85 people were killed and 300 injured.

     

    The prosecutors demanded an international arrest warrant for then-Iranian president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and six other top Iranian officials.

     

    They also sought a warrant for Imad Fayez Moughnieh, a former Hezbollah foreign security service chief.

     

    Secret services

     

    AMIA, supported by Israel and the United States, had long accused Hezbollah of carrying out the attack with Iranian organisation.

     

    Intelligence gathered by the secret services of Argentina, Israel and the US was a basis for Wednesday's charges. Iran and Hezbollah have consistently denied any involvement.

     

    Investigation of the bombing has been a long-running issue in Argentina. In September 2004 an Argentine court acquitted 21 former police officers and a trafficker of stolen cars who were charged with aiding the attackers.

     

    The court found that important evidence against the men had been "irregularly" obtained, and ordered an investigation of judge Juan Jose Galeano, who presided over the case for nine years.

     

    Galeano was accused of having paid $400,000 to a key witness to testify against four police officers accused of having provided logistical support in the plot.

     

    Hosseini added that "the corruption of Galeano" is another proof that "such claims (against Iran) are baseless".

    SOURCE: AFP


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