People gathered on the ruins of the Jewish center in Buenos Aires in 1994

US, Argentina Want Iran Accountable On Anniversary Of 1994 Bombing

Tuesday, 07/19/2022

Some Argentinian and American officials have held Iran accountable on the anniversary of the 1994 AMIA bombing that killed 85 people and injured over 300.

July 18 marked the anniversary of the bombing of the Asociación Mutual Israelita Argentina (AMIA), a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires in Argentina and the 2012 attack on a tour bus in Burgas, Bulgaria, carrying Israeli tourists, both blamed on Iran-backed Lebanese group Hezbollah with direct involvement of high-level Iranian government officials.

State Department Spokesperson Ned Price said in a statement on Monday that the two heinous Hezbollah attacks were carried out with Iranian support, describing it as “the single deadliest antisemitic attack in more than half a century.”

“The AMIA bombing underscored Hezbollah’s global ambitions and is a clear example of Iran’s support of international terrorism,” he said, adding “While no one responsible for the attack has been brought to justice, the United States believes all Argentines deserve to have those responsible held accountable for this despicable and cowardly attack.”

He also referred to the 2012 attack on a tour bus in Burgas, Bulgaria, carrying Israeli tourists, saying Hezbollah murdered five Israeli tourists and a Bulgarian bus driver in the bomb attack, which also injured 45 Israeli youth traveling on the bus. “While Bulgarian courts convicted two Hizballah operatives in absentia in connection with the bombing, justice has yet to be served.”

“The United States is committed to countering Hezbollah and Iran’s malign influence. The funding, training, weapons, and other support Iran provides Hezbollah support complex and heinous terrorist attacks like these,” Price said. “The callous murder of civilians must not stand.”

He also referred to “national level designations, bans, or other restrictions against Hezbollah,” urging “more countries to take similar measures, which make it harder for the group and its backers in Tehran to threaten peace and security around the globe.”

Echoing Price’s remarks, US Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism Deborah Lipstadt, who is in Argentina on the anniversary of the event, reaffirmed the US support of Argentine Jews in "seeking accountability for the horrific actions of that day."

At the ceremony remembering the victims of the attack, AMIA president, Amos Linetzky, said "How can so much impunity be explained? The AMIA incident is one of the most shameful events in Argentine history" and is "an image that shows us to (have experienced) a humiliating failure."

As Argentina commemorated the 28th anniversary of the bomb attack on Monday, the country’s authorities demanded justice, given that nobody has ever been arrested for the attack.

They also called for greater efforts against "the terrorist threat" to the region, referring to a Venezuelan-Iranian jet that has been impounded in Argentina over links with the Revolutionary Guard.

Iran has denied that a Boeing 747 belongs to Iran’s Mahan Airlines -- sanctioned by the US in 2008 for its links to Tehran’s extraterritorial intelligence and secret ops outfit, the IRGC’s Quds (Qods) Force, but there are reports that at least one of the Iranian crew of the grounded Venezuelan cargo plane was a member of the Revolutionary Guards' Quds Force.

Among the Iranians on board is Gholamreza Ghasemi, who apparently was the pilot and is a member of the IRGC and a former board member of Fars Air Qeshm accused of transporting weapons for Hezbollah during the civil war in Syria. He is reportedly a relative of current Interior Minister Ahmad Vahidi, whose assignment by President Ebrahim Raisi triggered condemnation from Argentina given his suspected role in the AMIA bombing.

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