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Buenos Aires, Argentina


Prosecutor: Argentine president tried to whitewash 1994 AMIA bombing
President Kirchner accused of trying to cover up Iran's involvement in 1994
bombing of the AMIA Jewish community center in Buenos Aires in order to
normalize ties with Tehran.
Published:  01.15.15, 13:24 / Israel News
An Argentine prosecutor accused President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner on
Wednesday of trying to orchestrate a cover up in the investigation of Iran
over the 1994 bombing of the AMIA Jewish community center in Buenos Aires.
State prosecutor Alberto Nisman, investigating the blast that killed 85
people, said Kirchner has pushed to drop the criminal investigation and
normalize relations as a way of tapping Iranian oil needed to narrow
Argentina's $7 billion per year energy gap.
Oil would be exchanged for Argentine grains under the government's plan,
Nisman said.
Nisman said he issued a request that a judge interrogate Kirchner and
Foreign Minister Hector Timerman "for being authors and accomplices of an
aggravated cover-up and obstruction of justice regarding the Iranians
accused of the AMIA terrorist attack."
Argentine courts accuse Iran of sponsoring the bombing. Iran, in preparatory
talks with the United States to end its standoff with world powers over its
nuclear program, denies links to the attack.
In 2013 Kirchner signed a "truth commission" deal with Iran to jointly
investigate the 1994 bombing.
Nisman said Kirchner opened a back channel to the Iranian government aimed
at getting the charges thrown out. The idea, Nisman said, was to sign the
truth commission pact as a step toward deactivating the arrest warrants.
Kirchner said at the time that the pact would reactivate the probe, but the
move was denounced by Israel and Jewish groups that said it threatened to
derail proper criminal prosecution of the case. The truth commission pact
was later struck down by an Argentine court.
Kirchner's Chief of Staff Anibal Fernandez dismissed Nisman's charge as
"ridiculous". But the allegations may cause problems for the president as
she tucks into her last months in office. Argentina has a presidential
election in October and Kirchner is barred from running for a third
consecutive term.
"This is a very serious accusation, probably the most serious levied against
Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner during her administration," said Ignacio
Labaqui, who analyses Argentina for emerging markets consultancy Medley
Global Advisors.
"The prosecutor is accusing her of being responsible for a manoeuvre to
cover up the worst terrorist attack in Argentine history," he added.
In 2007, Argentina secured Interpol arrest warrants for five Iranians
suspected of being behind the 1994 blast, which came two years after a group
linked to Iran and the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah claimed
responsibility for an attack on the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires, which
killed 29.

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