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New Argentine president vows to end deal with Tehran on AMIA probe

Mauricio Macri says he’ll keep election pledge on investigation into 1994 attack on Jewish center, in which Iran was implicated

Mauricio Macri speaks to the press during runoff elections in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on November 22, 2015. (Amilcar Orfali/LatinContent/Getty Images/JTA)
Mauricio Macri speaks to the press during runoff elections in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on November 22, 2015. (Amilcar Orfali/LatinContent/Getty Images/JTA)

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina — The newly elected president of Argentina said Monday that he will cancel the agreement signed with Iran to jointly investigate the 1994 attack on the AMIA Jewish center in Buenos Aires, as he vowed during his election run.

“We will propose to Congress to cancel the pact with Iran as we promised in the campaign,” Mauricio Macri said Monday morning in his first news conference after being elected in a runoff vote the previous day.

Macri, the opposition candidate, will take office on December 10. He won the runoff with 51.4 percent of the vote, defeating Daniel Scioli, a close ally of President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, who garnered 48.6 percent, according to the final results released Monday.

The agreement had been criticized by Israel and Argentina’s Jews, among others. Iran has been accused of being behind the AMIA bombing, which killed 85 and injured hundreds.

Macri has a recent history of close relations with Argentine Jewry and Israel.

The aftermath of the 1994 AMIA bombing in Buenos Aires (photo credit: Newspaper La Nación (Argentina)/Wikipedia Commons)
The aftermath of the 1994 AMIA bombing in Buenos Aires (Newspaper La Nación (Argentina)/Wikipedia Commons)

As mayor of Buenos Aires City, the country’s capital, Macri’s government implemented a plan to support incubators and start-ups inspired by the Israeli “Start-Up Nation” model. Local entrepreneurs visited Israel to learn how to market themselves globally, and they described their experiences on the city government’s website.

In June 2014, he traveled to Israel to participate in a mayors’ conference in Jerusalem, where he offered his support to Israel against terrorism.

“Israeli suffering has to be understood. From afar, it is easy to give advice, but you have to be in Israel to really understand the situation,” he told journalists.

Macri’s new political party, PRO, leads Argentina’s Let’s Change coalition. In 2011, the center-right party picked Rabbi Sergio Bergman to head the ticket for municipal elections. In 2013, Bergman was tapped by Macri to run for the national legislature, which he won, becoming the first rabbi to serve as a national lawmaker in the country. Macri also has ties to other Jewish candidates.

On Election Day, Macri played in a soccer game with his friends against the over-45 team that will represent Argentina at the next Pan-American Maccabi Games in Chile. The president’s team defeated the Jewish squad, 4 to 1.

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