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The shameful pact between Argentina and Iran

The backroom deal means the Buenos Aires Jewish community center bombers will never be brought to justice

After 19 years during which the perpetrators of the terror attack against the AMIA building in Buenos Aires have not been brought to justice, the Argentine government decided to quietly sign an agreement with Iran. President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner announced the deal on her Twitter account, showing complete disrespect, not only to the victims of this brutal attack that killed 85 and injured hundreds, but also to all of Argentina.

The agreement provides for, among other things, the creation of a “Commission” composed of jurists of “recognized international legal prestige.” It also states that these “jurists” will have access to and review all the documentation of the case and issue “recommendations.” It is unclear what, if any, role will be played by the Argentine justice system, in particular, the prosecutor of the case, Alberto Nisman, who has spent years conducting the investigation.

Another unfortunate clause of this agreement states that members of the commission and of the Argentine and Iranian judiciary will interrogate the suspects in Teheran. This is unacceptable.

The Argentine government would have us believe that this agreement represents a step forward in the struggle to achieve justice in the case, but in actuality, it is an insult to the intelligence of all Argentinians.

The Iranian regime has refused to cooperate with the Argentine justice system for many years – and not because of lack of trust. It has not cooperated because there is has never intended to bring to justice the main suspects, some of whom are currently part of the establishment in Iran (as is the case of current Iranian defense minister, Ahmad Vahidi). It is worse than naive to think that they will now cooperate with this commission of “independent” jurists.

Iran is the world’s foremost state sponsor of terrorism and one of the worst human rights violators on the planet. Unfortunately, the Argentine government has made a pact with the devil and the only result that can be expected from this shameful agreement is that the progress made in the last few years will be reversed.

The President, on her Twitter account, called this agreement “historic” and said she will never allow “the AMIA tragedy to be used as a chess piece on the chessboard of the geopolitical interests of others.” What she apparently wanted to say was that the AMIA case should not be politicized, but this is exactly what the agreement is doing.

The government is clearly seeking to upgrade its relations with Tehran at the expense of the victims of this terrible attack. But the reasons as to why are not entirely clear. Some believe that there are commercial interests involved. Others cite the government’s need to get even closer to Hugo Chavez, Iran’s main ally in the region. What is clear, however, is that in signing this agreement Argentina has positioned itself – in geopolitical terms – as a supporter of a fascist theocracy, and an opponent of the standards of the most advanced Western democracies.

The agreement still needs to be submitted to congress for its ratification. Let’s hope that the Argentine legislature shows some sanity by not ratifying it.

About the Author
Adriana Camisar is B’nai B’rith International's Special Advisor on Latin American Affairs. A native of Argentina, Camisar is an attorney by training and holds a Master’s degree in international affairs from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University.