Iran on Tuesday rejected reports that officials named as suspects in the bombing of a Jewish center in Buenos Aires in 1994 would be questioned by an investigating Argentine judge when he visits Tehran.
“The matter of questioning of some of the Iranian officials is a sheer lie,” Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast was quoted by AFP as saying.
“It seems that those who are concerned by the actual agreement are spreading such reports,” Mehmanparast added in a reference to Israeli opposition and deep suspicion of a joint Argentinian-Iranian investigation into the bombing of the AMIA center in Buenos Aries that killed 85 and injured hundreds.
In late January, Argentine Foreign Minister Hector Timerman said that seven Iranians facing international arrest warrants would be questioned by Argentine Judge Rodolfo Canicoba Corral and prosecutor Alberto Nisman, the lead investigator into the attack.
At the time, Timerman declared that he “made sure [Iran Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi] will have to be present when the judge questioned them and he will be.”
It is not clear when the investigating pair are to due arrive in Iran.
The announcement that Argentina and Iran had agreed to jointly investigate the incident caused consternation in Israel and among Argentina’s 300,000-strong Jewish community.
The dispute over the investigation led to a round of tit-for-tat diplomatic rebukes between Israel and Argentina. After Israel first summoned the Argentinian ambassador, Atilio Norberto Molteni, to Jerusalem for a serious talk, the Israeli ambassador to Argentina, Dorit Shavit, was subjected to a similar dressing down in Buenos Aires.
At the time, a Foreign Ministry spokesperson told The Times of Israel that the expectation was that Iran would manipulate the investigation for its own propaganda purposes. Argentina rejected Israel’s criticism of Iran’s participation in directing the investigation and said that since the attack took place on Argentinian soil against a local Jewish center, it was not for Israel to make demands regarding the manner in which the probe is conducted.
Israel and Argentina have long suspected that the attack was carried out by Hezbollah operatives with the backing of Iran.