Argentina fumes after Iranian AMIA bomb suspect spotted at Nicaragua ceremony

Mohsen Rezaei, one of five Iranians accused of being behind deadly 1994 bombing, attends Managua swearing-in for president Daniel Ortega, accused of rampant human rights violations

Former chief of Iran's Revolutionary Guards, Mohsen Rezaei. (AP/Vahid Salemi)
Former chief of Iran's Revolutionary Guards, Mohsen Rezaei. (AP/Vahid Salemi)

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina — The presence of a senior Iranian official at the investiture of Nicaragua’s president has angered Argentina, which alleges the official was involved in the 1994 bombing of a Jewish center in Buenos Aires.

Argentina’s Foreign Ministry said Tuesday that the appearance of Mohsen Rezaei, the Iranian vice president for economic affairs, at the Nicaraguan ceremony on Monday was “an affront to Argentine justice and to the victims of the brutal terrorist attack″ in the Argentine capital.

Rezaei, a former leader of Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard, is wanted by Argentina on an Interpol “Red Notice” because of the attack. He and the Iranian government deny orchestrating it.

Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega was sworn in for a fourth consecutive term following elections considered rigged and on a day marked by sanctions from the United States and the European Union against members of his government.

Iran is also under US sanctions over its nuclear program and other issues.

The Argentine government has come under criticism from the country’s opposition because Argentina’s ambassador, Daniel Capitanich, attended the inauguration of a president deemed to have trampled on human rights — and, additionally, for being at the same event with Rezaei.

A woman and children walk by a mural depicting Nicaragua’s President Daniel Ortega in Managua on January 10, 2022, the day in which he starts his fourth term. (Oswaldo Rivas/AFP)

The Argentine government was not only ″being partners with dictators and human rights violators in our region,″ but also acting as ″accomplices″ to an alleged organizer of the 1994 attack in Buenos Aires, said Fulvio Pompeo, secretary of international relations of the opposition PRO party.

Eight-five people were killed in the July 18, 1994 truck bomb attack on the Asociación Mutual Israelita Argentina. Some Buenos Aires officials have been accused of covering up Iranian involvement in the attack, including former Argentine president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner.

Iran and Hezbollah have long been linked to the attack. Based on the investigations of Argentine prosecutor Alberto Nisman, six Iranians and one Lebanese have been on Interpol’s most-wanted list since 2007.

The aftermath of the bombing at the Argentinian Israelite Mutual Association (AMIA) in Buenos Aires, Argentina, July 18, 1994. (AFP)

Nisman, who was found dead a day before he was due to testify about Kirchner’s alleged coverup, had accused Iran of ordering the attack via the Lebanese terror group Hezbollah.

His efforts to prosecute five Iranian officials, including Rezaei and former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, were cut short when Kirchner’s administration signed a deal with Iran in 2013 to set up a Tehran-based joint commission to investigate the attacks.

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