Sun, Mar 09, 2003 - Page 1 News List

Iranians indicted in 1994 Buenos Aires murder of Jews

AFP , BUENOS AIRES

An Argentine judge issued an international arrest warrant Friday for four Iranian officials suspected of involvement in the worst terrorist attack on Argentine soil, the 1994 bombing of a Jewish charities building, which killed 85, a court spokesman said.

Federal Judge Juan Jose Galeano's warrant includes Iran's former intelligence and security minister Ali Fallahijan; the former cultural attache at the Iranian Embassy in Buenos Aires Moshen Rabbani; and Foreign Ministry diplomatic post official Barat Ali Balesh Abadi.

Galeano also upheld and reaffirmed an existing international arrest warrant, dating from Aug. 9 1994 for Ali Akbar Parvaresh, an Iranian former official whose was fingered by an Iranian disident.

Explaining his 400-page ruling, Galeano cited "responsability in the attack on the AMIA [Argentine Jewish Mutual Association] of radical militant elements in the Islamic Republic of Iran."

If any of the suspects is detained abroad and sent to Argentina, the judge would question hm and could decide to try him, acquit him or declare the charges are without merit.

The judge moved on the arrest warrant, urged by prosecutors Jose Barbaccia and Alberto Nisman, who requested that the 17 suspects by detained based on Argentine intelligence reports, the court source added.

The reports found that in the days prior to the attack, there was an unusual movement of Iranian diplomats in and out of Argentina.

There were also many phone calls made between Buenos Aires, Iranian government offices and numbers in the Paraguayan city of Ciudad del Este, which has a large Arab community, on the Brazilian and Argentine border.

In January, local media reported that Argentina's intelligence service would report to authorities that Iran and the Lebanese militant Shiite group Hezbollah masterminded the 1994 bombing of the AMIA.

"The government of Iran and armed units of the pro-Iranian armed group Hezbollah were behind the horror of July 18, 1994, that at 9:53 in the morning killed 85 people in Once, in downtown Buenos Aires," which injured another 200, the report leaked to the dailies Clarin and Pagina/12 charged, noting Galeano was to receive the report.

Argentina has one of the largest Jewish communities in the Americas.

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