Argentina's government called a leading prosecutor a 'despicable liar' on Thursday for accusing President Cristina Fernandez of secretly negotiating with Iran to avoid punishing those responsible for the country's worst terrorist attack, and insisted the whole thing was a 'media show'.
Prosecutor Alberto Nisman on Wednesday asked a judge to call Fernandez, Foreign Minister Hector Timerman and others for questioning about the 1994 bombing of the Argentine-Israeli Mutual Association in Buenos Aires that killed 85 people.
On Thursday, Timerman called the prosecutor's accusations despicable. Reading from a statement at Government House, he said Fernandez has made great strides in the search and punishment of the perpetrators of the brutal attack.
The prosecutor's accusations only demonstrate the level of confusion and paralysis in the unsolved case, Timerman said.
“He should reveal the proof and witnesses; let him give their names and allow the AMIA families to analyze the proves,” the minister who was also reached by the attorney’s complaint said.
While defining Nisman’s recent appearance as “a media show”, Timerman recalled that “[late president] Néstor Kirchner and Cristina Fernández signed nine agreements, an historic point in the AMIA investigation. These are unprecedented deeds.”
“Instead of investigating suspects, Nisman is determined to investigate the President clandestinely,” he added.
Among other accused persons were Victory Front national lawmaker Andrés Larroque, MILES social activist Luis D’Elía and the leader of radical leftist group Quebracho, Fernando Esteche.
The attack perpetrated 20 years ago at the AMIA Jewish community Centre claimed the life of 85 people and injured 300. The Argentine justice system made responsible several officials from the Islamic Republic of Iran.
In 2013, Nisman released an indictment accusing Iran and Hezbollah of organizing the bombing. Iran has denied any wrongdoing. Argentina and Iran later reached an agreement to investigate the attack.
Mohsen Rabbani, a former Iranian cultural attaché in Buenos Aires, and Iran's former intelligence minister, Ali Fallahian, are among the suspects. The prosecutor has tried for years to get Rabbani and other suspects extradited to face trial in Argentina.
When asked about Timerman's statements, Nisman simply replied that anything the accused has to say, he'll say it before a Judge.
Nisman also denied vehemently he was acting on Argentina's intelligence services orders, the decisions are mine and mine only, and added an accused specialize in controversy. Everything the accused Timerman has to say, will be discussed in front of a Judge.
The prosecutor has been accused by several Cristina Fernandez ministers of being involved with the intelligence services, where there has been a recent purge with top officers removed.