Article by Dr. Shimon Samuels published in The Jerusalem Post
23 July 2023
After twenty-nine years since the AMIA atrocity, striving to achieve justice is crucial.
Then-Argentinian President Mauricio Macri speaks at an event in Buenos Aires in memory
of the victims of the 1994 bombing at the AMIA community center, marking the 25th anniversary
of the attack, in 2019 (photo Agustin Marcarian/Reuters).
At 9:53 a.m. on July 18, 1994, a car bomb demolished the AMIA Jewish Centre, leaving 85 dead and over 300 wounded.
In this July of 2023, the wounded and the families of the victims are again demanding that the perpetrators, Hezbollah and its Iranian sponsors, be brought to justice.
The then-Argentine government was criticized for signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Islamic Republic of Iran, a secret deal to close the investigation, in exchange for a large-scale commercial treaty.
Our Center was instrumental in securing INTERPOL Red Notices, still pending, for the arrest of the suspects. None have been brought to justice yet.
In 2008, special prosecutor Alberto Nisman was assigned to the case. He ordered the confiscation of bank accounts of Hezbollah operatives and Iranian officials – including former president Hashemi Rafsanjani, ex-foreign minister Ali Akbar Velayati, and current Interior Minister Ahmad Vahidi – for a total of about one million dollars.
Since then, we requested INTERPOL President, Gen. Ahmed Naser Al-Raisi, to activate its Red Notice for Mohsen Rezaee, who was, until this June, the Iranian vice-president for economic affairs. From 1980 to 1997, he was commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC, a.k.a. Pasdaran). Rezaee is alleged to be among those who planned, ordered, and organized the AMIA bombing.
Holding up images of the victims of the 1994 bombing on Argentina’s AMIA center, to mark
the attack’s 25th anniversary, in Buenos Aires, July 18, 2019 (photo Agustin Marcarian/Reuters).
The then special prosecutor, Alberto Nisman – a personal friend with whom I dined in London before his return to Buenos Aires – became the 86th victim of AMIA. He was murdered in his home hours before releasing evidence – proof of Iranian involvement in the bombing – to Congress.
Political figures, mostly in cahoots with Tehran, claimed Nisman had committed suicide which was clearly nonsense, as in London, he was jubilant as he showed us the list of nine Iranian-sponsored terror cells infiltrated in Latin America.
Over the years, we have followed the issue. On the 24th anniversary, we were hosted by the Henry Jackson Society in a British Parliament event entitled “The Shadow of the AMIA Bombing – Global Terror and the Threat Today.”
We had invited the Argentine Ambassador to the United Kingdom, who relayed a message from Buenos Aires: “The bombing of the Israeli Embassy in 1992 (29 dead) and the AMIA terror attack were the two major acts of international terrorism perpetrated in our country... We are fully committed to seeking justice on behalf of the victims... Those responsible for the attack will be brought before the Argentine courts.”
Michael Caplan Q.C., British expert on extradition and universal jurisdiction, argued that, “if any of the Iranian suspects were to land on British soil, in view of the INTERPOL Red Notices, they must be stopped and detained. The British Police would then inform Argentina, whereupon Buenos Aires would issue a request for arrest and extradition proceedings.”
AMIA and other terror attacks make us recall a quote by Simon Wiesenthal:
“Justice for crimes against humanity must have no limitations.”
The writer is director of international relations at the Simon Wiesenthal Center.