Indignation in Argentina after AMIA bombing suspect attends Nicaragua inauguration

The Argentine Jewish community has expressed its indignation at the participation of one of the suspects of the AMIA bombing at the inauguration of Nicaragua’s dictator alongside Argentina’s ambassador.

Mohsen Rezaee, Iranian Vice President for Economic Affairs headed the Islamic Republic’s delegation to the inauguration ceremony of Nicaraguan dictator Daniel Ortega.

International arrest warrants have been issued for Rezaee, six other Iranians, and one Lebanese in connection with the 1994 bombing of the AMIA Jewish cultural center in Buenos Aires, which resulted in 85 dead and 151 seriously injured.

Rezaee is also under an Interpol red notice and in Argentina’s own Public Register of Persons and Entities Linked to Acts of Terrorism and its Financing.

In spite of this, Daniel Capitanich, Argentina’s ambassador in Managua, chose to remain at the ceremony. In addition, the the Argentine government did not seek to move forward with a request for his arrest in Managua, Nicaragua’s capital.

In an open letter, the DAIA, the umbrella organisation of Argentina’s Jewish community said: “It is absolutely inadmissible that the Argentine ambassador has supported with his assistance and passivity a criminal act such as the presence of an accused by the Argentine justice and on whom an Interpol arrest warrant weighs for his participation in the terrorist attack in Buenos Aires”, wrote DAIA President Jorge Knoblovits and secretary general Alejandro Zuchowicki.

For its part, the AMIA declared: “The AMIA and the Argentine state itself have made a demand that Iranian defendants should be rigorously monitored when they leave their country, so that they cannot move freely through nations that protect them, and so that they can finally be extradited to appear before Argentine courts.”

The Israeli Embassy in Argentina also expressed its repudiation: “We regret to see how one of those accused by the Argentine justice system in the case of the terrorist attack perpetrated against the AMIA headquarters, which claimed the lives of 85 people on 18 July 1994, shared an official event with Argentine officials”.

“Definitely, in memory of the victims and their families, we repudiate this type of actions that only honour impunity”, the embassy warned. “Iran’s support for international terrorism and we urge the national and international authorities to enforce the measures established against the accused”.

During the inauguration of Daniel Ortega, amidst applause, the Iranian official was introduced as “brother Mohsen Rezaee”. He responded to the greeting and was photographed with Ortega himself, and with Venezuela’s Nicolás Maduro and Cuba’s Miguel Díaz-Canel.

For 16 years, Rezaee was one of the heads of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IGRC). That period of time included both the 1994 attack on the AMIA and the 1992 attack on the Israeli Embassy. He is the subject of international arrest warrants for both attacks.

Iran and Hezbollah have long been linked to the AMIA attack. In 2013, the administration of President Cristina Kirchner signed a deal with Iran to set up a Tehran-based joint commission to investigate the attacks, severely damaging prospects of bringing Rezaee and others to justice.

President Daniel Ortega was inaugurated for his fourth consecutive term on 7 November 2021. His regime has been condemned by the European Parliament for “deepening its authoritarian drift, closing off democratic space and international mediation for a peaceful solution to the conflict and clearly impeding free and fair elections.”

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