BUENOS AIRES, Argentina — An international arrest warrant for Iran’s former defense minister in the AMIA Jewish center bombing will not be lifted under the Iran nuclear deal, US officials said.
Ahmad Vahidi is still being sought in connection with the deadly 1994 bombing of the Buenos Aires center and nothing will change under the agreement between Iran and the world powers reached last month, according to the State Department.
“Nothing in the recently concluded Joint Comprehensive Plan Of Action, or JCPOA, on Iran’s nuclear program has an impact on or removes the Red Notice for General Vahidi issued by Interpol, in relation to the 1994 bombing in Argentina,” the State Department said in a statement Friday, two days after Argentine Foreign Minister Hector Timerman asked Secretary of State John Kerry about Vahidi’s status in a letter. “And we continue to urge the international community and Argentine authorities to do whatever is necessary to hold the AMIA bombers accountable for that atrocity.
Along with Vahidi, Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps and its officials remain sanctioned in the United States because they were listed for reasons outside the scope of the agreement, the statement said.
Timerman’s letter also was sent to European Union foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini.
The Wall Street Journal reported last week that “the EU’s planned delisting of Tehran’s former minister of defense, retired Brig. Gen. Ahmad Vahidi, is among a group of Iranian military officers, nuclear scientists and defense institutions set to be rehabilitated internationally in the wake of the nuclear accord.”
The State Department added in its response that “our secondary sanctions will also stay in force, which means that foreign banks and companies could be exposed to sanctions if they engage in transactions with these listed individuals.”
Since Vahidi is not listed under any nuclear-related activities, the State Department said, he will remain on the Interpol list for eight more years.
Timerman, who is Jewish, in February asked Kerry to include the AMIA attack in the negotiations with Iran, but the attack was not part of the talks.