BUENOS AIRES, Argentina – Iran financed the 2007 campaign of Argentinian President Cristina Kirchner, in exchange for impunity for Iranians in the AMIA bombing, a magazine reported.
The Brazilian magazine Veja on Saturday reported that the deal, brokered by Venezuelan 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. We need Argentinians to share their knowledge on nuclear technology; without this collaboration it is impossible to advance our program,’ the then president of Iran 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 crime investigation.
“Don’t worry about the expenses required for this operation. Iran will support everything necessary to persuade the Argentinians. I have another issue. I need you to discourage the Argentinians from insisting that Interpol capture the authorities of my country,” added the Iranian president, according to the report. Chavez agreed.
The bombing at the Argentine Jewish Mutual Association (AMIA) killed 85 people and wounded 300, the deadliest such attack in the South American country’s history.
Argentina has accused the Iranian government of directing the 1994 bombing of the AMIA Jewish center and the Lebanon-based terror group Hezbollah of carrying out the attack, but no arrests have been made in the case. Six Iranians have been on the Interpol international police agency’s most wanted list since 2007 in connection with the bombing.
The Treasury of Venezuela bought $6 billion in Argentina’s bonds to cover its debt in 2007 and 2008.
The Argentine government also received cash for the agreement. One of three former Venezuelan officials said that the famous suitcase of Guido Antonioni Wilson, containing $800,000 which he brought into the country without claiming, came from the Iranian regime and was bound for the presidential campaign of Cristina Kirchner and that Chavez was just the middleman.
According to Veja, the exchange of nuclear secrets was managed in Argentina by Minister of Defense Nilda Garre, now ambassador to the Organization of American States, or OAS, in Washington. Iran was interested in the Argentinean experience with its heavy-water nuclear reactor “Atucha,” because they 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 revealed to Veja in its story titled “Chavistas confirm the conspiracy denounced by Nisman.”
The revelation backed the accusation made by late prosecutor Alberto Nisman in January, when he claimed that Kirchner decided to “not incriminate” former senior officials of the Islamic Republic and tried to “erase” their roles in planning the bombing, but added that the agreement started in 2007 in Venezuela.