November 19, 2019

Argentina Asks Azerbaijan to Arrest Iranian Suspect in Jewish Center Bombing during Visit

BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA: (FILE) Firemen and policemen search for wounded people after a bomb exploded at the Argentinian Israelite Mutual Association (AMIA in Spanish) in Buenos Aires, 18 July 1994. 85 people died in the attack which 10th anniversary will be commemorated next Sunday. The Argentine Justice has been unable to discover who has been behind the bombing up to this moment. AFP PHOTO/Ali BURAFI (Photo credit should read ALI BURAFI/AFP/Getty Images)

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (JTA) — Argentina has asked Azerbaijan to arrest a high-level Iranian adviser to the country’s supreme leader in connection with the bombing in 1994 of the Buenos Aires AMIA Jewish center

Alí Akbar Velayati was scheduled to attend the Second Summit of religious world leaders in the Azerbaijani capital Baku, Nov. 14-15.

Velayati, who was Iran’s foreign minister at the time of the terrorist attack and has been implicated in ordering the bombing, is now an adviser on international affairs to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Under existing Argentine law, an accused person must have the opportunity to defend himself before a judge. Since the Iranians accused in the attack, many from the upper political echelons, have not set foot on Argentine soil, it has been impossible to move the judicial process forward.

The Argentine Foreign Minister summoned the ambassador of Azerbaijan in Buenos Aires on Friday and expressed the “deep concern” of Argentina’s government about Velayati’s presence in Baku and asked for Azerbaijan’s cooperation “in order to carry out the detention for extradition purposes.”

Iran also is believed to be behind the 1992 car bombing that destroyed the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires, killing 29 and injuring 242.

Iranians have been on Interpol’s most wanted list since 2007 in connection with the bombing. They include Mohsen Rabbani, a mullah and former cultural attaché who did not travel to Colombia in 2016 after political pressure to prevent his official government visit. Rabbani is believed to be a leading figure in spreading radical Islam in Latin America.

In 2016, ahead of another Velayati trip, Argentina made requests for his arrest to Singapore and Malaysia but was not successful. Two years later, another unsuccessful request was made to Russia