Last updated: 28 September, 2012

Israel expresses disappointment over Iran-Argentina talks

Israel’s embassy in Buenos Aires expressed “disappointment” Friday over talks between Argentina and Iran about a deadly attack nearly two decades ago on a Jewish center in the Argentine capital.

The foreign ministers of Argentina and Iran met in New York Thursday on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly to discuss the 1994 bombing, which killed 85 people at a building housing various Jewish charities and NGOs.

Argentina has charged that the attack was planned and financed in Tehran and carried out by a cell of Hezbollah.

Israel learned “with great disappointment the news that Argentina had agreed to meet with Iran at the foreign minister level to advance the investigation into the attack on the offices of the AMIA” the embassy statement read, referring to the Israeli-Argentine Mutual Aid Association.

The Israeli statement said there was “no room for doubt” that Iran was responsible for the attack, and that the decision to bomb the building was made “at the highest levels of the Iranian government.”

In the July 1994 attack, a van loaded with explosives detonated outside the six-story AMIA. In addition to the scores of dead, more than 300 people were injured in the worst ever act of terrorism to hit Argentina.

Argentina indicted and sought the extradition of eight Iranians over the massacre in 2006, including current Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi and former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani.

Buenos Aires’ Foreign Minister Hector Timerman said Thursday that the two sides have agreed to continue their dialogue “until a solution is found” and would hold a new round of talks in Geneva in October.

The talks aim to “explore a legal mechanism” for resolving the matter “not in contradiction with the legal systems of Argentina and Iran,” Timerman said in a statement following his meeting with his Iranian counterpart Ali Akbar Salehi.