Ben-Dat: Iran must be held accountable for Argentine bombing

On July 18, 1994 terrorists committed a massive attack on the Argentine Israelite Mutual Association building in Buenos Aires. The terrorist attack killed 85 and injured hundreds. It was Argentina’s deadliest bombing ever. Argentina has one of the largest Jewish communities in the world. (Flickr photo - )

Earlier this month, a federal judge in Argentina formally asked the government of Russia to arrest Ali Akbar Velayati, an Iranian diplomat who traveled to Moscow to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Velayati, a personal envoy of Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, travels the world these days to ensure that other governments hear the views of Iran’s ruling theocrat, particularly on the subject of the 2015 nuclear agreement.

Twenty-four years ago, Velayati was Iran’s foreign minister. Twenty-four years ago, on July 18, a car bomb destroyed the AMIA Asociación Mutual Israelita Argentina (Argentine Israelite Mutual Association) building in Buenos Aires. The blast killed 85 people and injured hundreds of others. Argentine investigators eventually tied the atrocity to the government of Iran.

Argentinian prosecutor Alberto Nisman, who investigated the bombing, was able to prove that the authorization for the attack was made during a meeting of Iran’s National Security Council on August 14, 1993. Nisman compiled an unassailable dossier of evidence that implicated several Iranian officials, including Velayati, in the horrible crime. Indeed, Velayati and seven other Iranian officials have been the subjects of international arrest warrants since 2006.

Nisman was eventually murdered for his fearless investigations. His killer, or killers, remain at large.

Iran is also believed to have been responsible for the bombing of the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires that killed 29 people and injured 242 in 1992.


Once Judge Rodolfo Canicoba Corral – who is now responsible for the unresolved AMIA file – heard that Velayati would be in Moscow at the beginning of July, he sent the request to Russian authorities to have him detained, as he had also sent to Singapore and Malaysia when Velayati visited in 2016. All of the requests fell on cold, indifferent, deaf ears.

Western intelligence and security services have large files on Iran’s involvement in the planning, funding and organizing of terrorist activities in Europe, South America, North America and the Middle East. Interpol also has a long list of Iranians who are wanted for crimes committed against innocent civilians. And yet, international indifference in the face of Iran’s criminal contempt for life continues unabated.

And it is not just Jewish life that Iran threatens – the regime is responsible for the deaths of many others, as well. But Jews and the Jewish state are Iran’s foremost targets. We know this because the government of Iran says so openly.

Around a week before Judge Corral sent the request to Russia, the deputy commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, Hossein Salami, informed the world that his country is orchestrating the imminent destruction of the Jewish state.

“Today, an international Islamic army has been formed in Syria and the voices of the Muslims are heard near the Golan,” Salami said. “Orders are awaited so that … the eradication of the evil regime (Israel) will land and the life of this regime will be ended for good. The life of the Zionist regime was never in danger as it is now.”

Only one country on Earth – Israel – is threatened with annihilation, and Iran leads the coalition of those with genocidal ambitions for the Jewish state.

Why have civilized countries not shunned the theocratic government of Iran? Why do countries fall over each other seeking to gain a leg up on business deals with Iran? Why do human rights activists not condemn the Iranian regime, whose record on the subject is atrocious?

The detached ennui concerning Iran’s constant, public call to destroy Israel is disgusting. The cavalier hypocrisy of nations is disheartening. The disregard for justice, for the lives of others, for history and for memory is an abuse of conscience.

Iran prefers that the world forget about the AMIA bombing and disregard its crimes.

But we will remember AMIA. Iran must be held accountable.