The head of an influential committee in the Iranian parliament said he believed the nominee for defense minister would be approved despite accusations he was involved in the 1994 bombing of a Jewish cultural center in Argentina, the official IRNA news agency reported on Sunday.
The backing of the foreign policy and national security committee raises the likelihood that General Ahmad Vahidi will be confirmed as defense chief in a vote in the full legislature, which is expected to be held next Tuesday.
His nomination last week by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad angered Argentina, which accuses him of playing a key role in the Buenos Aires bombing. The US, which has sought to reach out to Iran under President Barack Obama, has also said Vahidi’s presence in the Cabinet would be disturbing.
The chairman of the parliamentary committee, Alaeddin Boroujerdi, said the allegations “will not have any negative impact on the assessment” of the nominee, who is currently a deputy defense minister.
“Rather, it may increase his vote” in parliament, he said.
Boroujerdi rejected accusations that Vahidi was involved in the bombing.
Vahidi is one of five prominent Iranians sought by Argentina in the bombing, which killed 85 people. He was the commander of a special unit of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard known as the Quds Force at the time of the attack. The force is responsible for the Guard’s foreign operations.
On Friday, Argentine Prosecutor Alberto Nisman said Vahidi is accused of “being a key participant in the planning and of having made the decision to go ahead with the attack against the Argentine-Israeli Mutual Association.”
Nisman led the investigation into the July 18, 1994, bombing — Argentina’s bloodiest terrorist attack.
Argentine officials claim Iran orchestrated the attack and the Iranian-backed Hezbollah carried it out. The US and Israel also say Iran was behind the bombing, but Iran has denied it.
Interpol said in 2007 it would help Argentina seek the arrest of Vahidi and the four other wanted Iranians.
Among the others is Mohsen Rezaei, who ran against Ahmadinejad in the June 12 presidential election and is a former leader of the Revolutionary Guard.
The other wanted Iranians are former intelligence chief Ali Fallahian; Mohsen Rabbani, former cultural attache at the Iranian Embassy in Buenos Aires; and former diplomat Ahmad Reza Asghari.
Interpol had also sought Hezbollah militant Imad Mughniyeh, who was killed in a car bombing in Damascus, Syria, in February last year.
Iran has repeatedly denied involvement in the bombing.
“Since 1994, the judiciary of Argentina has failed to provide a single piece of evidence against Iranian diplomats, officials as well as military people,” said Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman, Hasan Qashqavi, according to IRNA.
Qashqavi said Argentina’s judiciary was under pressure from Israel. He also said Argentina’s statements on Vahidi were an unwelcome intervention in Iran’s domestic affairs.
Since her personal telephone number was posted online, Hong Kong democracy advocate and Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions chairperson Carol Ng has received menacing calls from strangers and been bombarded with messages calling her a “cockroach.” She is not alone. A sophisticated and shady Web site called HK Leaks has ramped up its “doxxing” — where people’s personal details are published online — of Hong Kong democracy advocates, targeting those it says have broken Hong Kong’s National Security Law. Promoted by groups linked to the Chinese Chinese Communist Party and hosted on Russia-based servers, HK Leaks has become the most prominent “doxxing”
‘CONFESSED’: A court in Beijing said that former CCP member Ren Zhiqiang abused his power at a state firm and embezzled almost US$7.14 million of public funds A Chinese tycoon who called Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) a clown and criticized his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic was yesterday jailed for 18 years for corruption, bribery and embezzlement of public funds. Ren Zhiqiang (任志強) — once among the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) inner circle — disappeared from the public eye in March, shortly after penning an essay that lambasted Xi’s pandemic response. His outspokenness had earned the former chairman of state-owned property developer Huayuan Group the nickname “Big Cannon.” Yesterday’s verdict said that Ren embezzled almost 50 million yuan (US$7.4 million) of public funds and accepted bribes worth 1.25 million
A Malaysian student whose cellphone was stolen while he was sleeping has tracked down the culprit: a monkey who took photo and video selfies with the device before abandoning it. Zackrydz Rodzi, 20, on Wednesday said that his mobile phone was missing from his bedroom when he woke up on Saturday. He found the phone’s casing under his bed, but there was no sign of robbery in his house in Johor state. JUNGLE When his father saw a monkey the next day, he searched in the jungle behind his house. Using his brother’s cellphone to call his own device, he found it covered
AUSTRALIAN SITE: China has had a contract with SSC’s Yatharagga station since at least 2011, but the last time it used it was in June 2013. No final date has been given China would lose access to a strategic space tracking station in Western Australia when its contract expires, the facility’s owners said, a decision that cuts into Beijing’s expanding space exploration and navigational capabilities in the Pacific region. The Swedish Space Corp (SSC) has had a contract allowing Beijing access to the satellite antenna at the station since at least 2011. The station is located next to an SSC satellite station primarily used by the US and its agencies, including NASA. The Swedish state-owned company said it would not enter into any new contracts at the Australian site to support Chinese customers after