Report backs Nisman’s claims on Argentina-Iran conspiracy in AMIA bombing

Iran financed the 2007 campaign of Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner in exchange for impunity for Iranians in the AMIA bombing, a Brazilian magazine reported.

According to Veja on Saturday, the deal brokered by Venezuela’s president, Hugo Chavez, also provided the Iranians with nuclear know-how.

“I need you to broker with Argentina for aid to my country’s nuclear program,” Iran’s then-president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, told Chavez on Jan. 13, 2007, according to the testimony of three former Chavez Cabinet members who now live in the United States and are collaborating in the investigation by Argentina. “We need Argentinians to share their knowledge on nuclear technology; without this collaboration it is impossible to advance our program.

“Don’t worry about the expenses required for this operation; Iran will support everything necessary to persuade the Argentines,” Ahmadinejad added. “I have another issue. I need you to discourage the Argentinians from insisting that Interpol capture the authorities of my country.” Chavez agreed.

Six Iranians have been on the Interpol international police agency’s most wanted list since 2007 in connection with the 1994 AMIA Jewish center bombing in Buenos Aires that killed 85 and injured hundreds.

The revelation backed the accusation made in January by the late prosecutor Alberto Nisman, who claimed that Kirchner decided to “not incriminate” former senior officials of Iran and tried to “erase” their roles in planning the bombing, but added that the agreement started in 2007 in Venezuela.

Argentina has accused the Iranian government of directing the AMIA attack and the Lebanon-based terror group Hezbollah of carrying it out, but no arrests have been made in the case.

Venezuela bought $6 billion in Argentina’s bonds to cover the latter’s debt in 2007 and 2008, according to the Veja report. The Argentine government also received cash for the agreement.

One of the cooperating Venezuelan officials said that a suitcase carried by a Venezuelan-American businessman, Guido Antonioni Wilson, containing $800,000, which he brought into the country without claiming and was seized, came from the Iranian regime and was bound for the presidential campaign of Kirchner. The official said that Chavez was the middleman.

Kirchner and Chavez have denied the allegations.

Veja reported that the exchange of nuclear secrets was managed in Argentina by Minister of Defense Nilda Garre, now ambassador to the Organization of American States in Washington. Iran was interested in the Argentine experience with its heavy-water nuclear reactor Atucha because it wanted to produce plutonium for use in nuclear weapons using only natural uranium.

“I can’t say that the government of Argentina gave nuclear secrets, but I know it took a lot by legal means and illegal means in exchange for something valuable to the Iranians,” the former officials told Veja.

Al-Qaida cells active in Brazil, magazine says

The terrorist organization al-Qaida is active in Brazil, including planning attacks and recruiting followers, a Brazilian magazine reported.

The revelation published over the weekend in Veja is causing serious concern in Brazil and Argentina.

“We have high concern about fundamentalist movements in Latin America and about recruitment activities of fundamentalist movements,” Aldo Donzis, the president of DAIA Jewish umbrella organization in Argentina, told JTA on Monday.  “We shared this information with Latin American parliamentarians last July and they agreed with our information. But the situation is getting worse.

“In Argentina, we have seen graffiti written in Arabic calling for jihad which coincided with the visit of Iranians here. Also, this graffiti was seen in Bolivia. We understand that Brazil needs to feel worried and act.

“There are terrorist sleeper cells waiting to be activated,” said Donzis, whose organization has been warning about the presence of Islamic fundamentalism in the region for years.

According to the magazine, Moshen Rabbani, a former cultural attache to the Iranian Embassy in Buenos Aires and a main suspect in the 1994 terrorist attack on the AMIA Jewish center in Buenos Aires, frequently flies to Brazil using false documents to visit his brother, most recently in September. 

The article said that in the “Triple Frontier” area on the borders of Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay, Hezbollah and Hamas cells have been operating for years, and also have provided forged passports from Brazil, Portugal, Mexico and Spain to militants arriving from the Middle East.

Henry Chemelnistky, president of the Israelite Federation of Rio Grande do Sul in Brazil, said Monday that he would ask his federal government for an explanation of the report.

“When we read the news we were very worried,” Chemelnitsky told Radio Jai, the Argentinian Jewish Radio. “The government will have to address this issue very clearly because this is something that includes risks. We have many doubts about what could happen here in Brazil; perhaps another AMIA.

He added, “We knew there was some Muslim fundamentalism in some mosques in San Pablo, but this is very, very deep.”

Chemelnistky noted that relations between the Jewish and Arab communities in Brazil are very good.

According to Alberto Nisman, the Argentinian prosecutor of the AMIA investigation, Rabbani played a key role in the preparation and execution of the AMIA terrorist attack, and also has directed dangerous regional activity.

In an interview with JTA from Washington, Nisman questioned why Interpol has been unable to arrest Rabbani under its red alert warrant during his trips to Argentina.

“We have pictures to identify him, so even if he enters with false documents, they could stop him,” he said.