Jewish Argentine ex-FM, derided for Iran cover-up, dead at 65
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Jewish Argentine ex-FM, derided for Iran cover-up, dead at 65

Hector Timerman, who suffered from cancer, was arrested last year for part in ‘truth commission’ seen as helping Tehran paper over its role in deadly 1994 Jewish center bombing

Argentina's then-foreign minister Hector Timerman speaks to journalists at a joint press conference with Guatemalan foreign minister Carlos Raul Morales, during a meeting of the Central American Integration System or SICA, in Guatemala City, March 26, 2015. (AP/Moises Castillo)
Argentina's then-foreign minister Hector Timerman speaks to journalists at a joint press conference with Guatemalan foreign minister Carlos Raul Morales, during a meeting of the Central American Integration System or SICA, in Guatemala City, March 26, 2015. (AP/Moises Castillo)

Hector Timerman, a Jewish former foreign minister of Argentina, has died at age 65, local media in the South American nation reported Sunday.

Timerman served as his country’s top diplomat from 2010 to 2015 under controversial president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, and was instrumental in establishing a much-derided truth commission with Iran to investigate the 1994 bombing of the AMIA Jewish center, in which 85 people were killed and hundreds wounded.

Timerman, Kirchner and others were investigated on suspicion of working to cover up Iranian involvement in the bombing by pushing for a pact with Iran under which suspects could be questioned in Iran and not brought to Argentina.

The plan was formally approved by both houses of the Argentine Congress, but never ratified by Iran.

Nobody has been tried for the bombing.

Timerman, who had been suffering from cancer, was arrested in December 2017 while attempting to board a plane to New York for treatment, and released to house arrest in Buenos Aires.

The Buenos Aires Jewish center after it was attacked, July 1994 (photo credit: Cambalachero/Wikimedia commons)
The Buenos Aires AMIA Jewish center after it was attacked, July 1994. (Cambalachero/Wikimedia commons)

Timerman earlier served as ambassador to the US. His father, Jacobo Timerman, was an ardent Zionist who lived for several years in Israel after being exiled by Argentina’s military junta. Hector Timerman lived during that time in New York.

The reported death Sunday drew mixed reactions.

Timerman’s brother Javier tweeted a heartfelt goodbye.

“Soul brother. Thank you for everything you did for me. I admire you so much. I miss you more than you can imagine,” he wrote.

Others took the opportunity to slam Timerman and even accuse him of treason over his role in the alleged Iran terror cover-up and the still unsolved 2015 death of prosecutor Alberto Nisman.

After one person tweeted that Timerman was murdered, Javier Navia, an editor at the La Nacion newspaper, asked, “Would you say that about Nisman?”

View of the grave of late Argentinian prosecutor Alberto Nisman at La Tablada Israelite cemetery in Buenos Aires, on January 10, 2018. (Eitan Abramovich/AFP/Getty Images via JTA)

Others noted that Timerman’s government had tried to portray Nisman’s death as a suicide.

“They killed Nisman. Hector Timerman died [naturally] and will only be remembered for covering up an attack and betraying his homeland,” another Twitter user wrote.

Another Argentine journalist, Alejo Schapire, tweeted, “negotiating the immunity of those who killed your own [people]. That has a name.”

AFP contributed to this report.

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