Argentine Jews pan government over AMIA bombing
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Argentine Jews pan government over AMIA bombing

President Fernandez misses 19th anniversary memorial, criticized for toothless deal to investigate Iran's involvement in attack

Argentina’s Jewish leaders harshly criticized their government on Thursday, the 19th anniversary of the nation’s worst terrorist attack, as the community held a memorial in honor of the 85 slain and 300 wounded in the 1194 AMIA bombing.

Leonardo Jmelnitzky, the president of the AMIA Jewish community center; Sofía Guterman, mother of a victim killed in the blast; and TV presenter Andy Kustnezoff delivered the main speeches at a ceremony held outside the rebuilt Buenos Aires Jewish community center, according to a report in the Buenos Aires Herald.

The memorial’s slogan read, “19 years on, the wound remains open,” as the bombing of the Argentine-Israeli Mutual Association in 1994 remains unsolved.

Jmelnitzky and survivors of the attack accused President Cristina Fernandez and Foreign Minister Hector Timerman of guaranteeing impunity for those responsible by making a pact with Iran. Fernandez, the Herald noted, was not in attendance at Thursday morning’s ceremony, nor at last year’s.

The accord with Tehran promises to enable Argentine prosecutors to travel to Iran and question high-ranking officials suspected of organizing the attack. But there is no indication that Iran will ever allow the suspects to be extradited.

A 500-page indictment by prosecutor Alberto Nisman filed earlier accuses Iran and Hezbollah of establishing terror cells across South America. In particular, he named Mohsen Rabbani, a former Iranian cultural attache and presidential candidate, as the coordinator of Iranian clandestine activities on the continent.

Nisman also outlined Iran’s “dual use of diplomatic offices, cultural or charity associations and even mosques, as coverage to hide illegal activities.”

Iranian officials have rejected that charge as a Zionist conspiracy.

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