Argentina's foreign minister is asking U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and European Union Foreign Affairs representative, Federica Mogherini to clarify whether Washington's nuclear deal with Iran includes removing from Interpol's list an Iranian wanted in a major bomb attack in Buenos Aires that took place in 1994 and remains unsolved.
In an open letter on Wednesday, Foreign Minister Hector Timerman said Argentina was concerned by a news reports in The Wall Street Journal that said the secret deal reached with Iran included the European Union's agreement to remove former Iranian Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi from its sanctions list.
Argentina has long sought Vahidi for alleged involvement in the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires that killed 85 people and wounded hundreds. Several Iranian officials including Vahidi are on Interpol's wanted list. Iran has always denied involvement in the attack.
In the letters sent, Timerman asks the US and the EU to confirm if the sanctions against Vahidi would be lifted, clarifying his alleged role in the 1994 bombing.
I am writing to you with regard to the article published in the 27 July edition of the Wall Street Journal, which states that, under the nuclear accord reached between the Islamic Republic of Iran and the United States, in addition to the United Kingdom, France, Russia, China and Germany, the European Union has committed to removing former Iranian Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi from its sanctions list.
As you are aware, Excellency, Mr. Vahidi is sought by Interpol at the request of the Judiciary of the Argentine Republic, in connection with the case concerning theinvestigation into the bombing of the AMIA Jewish Community Centre building in Buenos Aires on 18 July 1994. That brutal criminal action claimed the lives of 85 people and has been declared a crime against humanity.
The firm commitment of my Government to justice, to the fight against terrorism in all of its forms and to full respect for Human Rights, has led us to explore all possible avenues for the Argentine Judiciary to be able to fully clarify the attack and for those responsible to be tried in my country. It was in that context that the Argentine Government duly maintained communications and held bilateral meetings with you and with other officials of your administration. The main reason for this was to request that the question of the AMIA attack be included in the negotiations for the nuclear deal with Iran.
At first glance, these two things, i.e. the negotiations for a nuclear deal and the AMIA attack, could have been regarded as unrelated. However, confirmation of the commitment to which I referred in the first paragraph above would demonstrate that the request made by my Government was, and of course continues to be, fully justified.
Surely you will not be unaware of the impact and sensitive nature of any event or development related to the AMIA attack for the people and Government of Argentina, and you can be certain that we are driven by a deeply held conviction that there are values, like the ones I have mentioned, that stand above any international political considerations.
In view of the foregoing, and considering the leading role you and the Government you represent have played in the negotiations that led to the nuclear deal with the Islamic Republic of Iran, I would be grateful if you could advise us whether, as a result of the agreed conditions, scope and effects of the commitment assumed by the European Union or by any other signatory to the deal, individuals or actions linked to the AMIA attack would be included.
Finally, may I once again state that the Government and people of Argentina consider that the peaceful settlement of international disputes is a big step in building a fairer world based on law and not on the power of weapons.