Accused: Iranian Defence Minister Ahmad Vahidi. Photo: AFP
ARGENTINA and Iran have agreed to set up an international commission to investigate the 1994 bombing of a Jewish centre in Buenos Aires, according to a joint declaration by their foreign ministries on Sunday.
The commission will have five members, two of them designated by each country, while the president will be agreed upon jointly.
The blast in July 1994, which left 85 people dead, was the second terrorist attack in the city in a two-year span, following a 1992 bombing of the Israeli embassy. Argentina has accused current and former Iranian officials, including Defence Minister Ahmad Vahidi, of involvement. Iran has rejected the accusations.
Firefighters and rescue workers search through the rubble of the Argentinian Israelite Mutual Association on July 18, 1994, after a car bomb killed 85 people. Photo: AP
‘‘It’s an important step that’s been taken by the two countries because this case has been around for 18 years,’’ Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi told reporters in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, where he’s attending an African Union summit. ‘‘It’s about time for it to be resolved.’’
The commission will review documents supplied by both countries and be able to interrogate suspects in Iran, according to the statement.
Israel has warned the Argentine government ‘‘not to let itself be manipulated’’ in discussions to set up the panel, Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said.
‘‘Obviously, anyone who has tried to cooperate on anything with Iran has found themselves tricked and ridiculed,’’ Mr Palmor said. ‘‘We are a party in all this and expect to be kept up to date on the findings.’’