MIAMI—An Argentine delegation was forced to cancel a scheduled appearance in Florida this week following new accusations by a federal prosecutor that the delegation is working to undermine the Argentina’s relationship with Iran, according to sources apprised of the situation.
Laura Alonso, a legislator in Argentina’s Chamber of Deputies, and Julio Schlosser, president of the Delegation of Argentine-Israeli Associations (DAIA), were scheduled to appear on Monday at a gathering of Latin American leaders and U.S. elected officials organized by the Israel Allies Foundation (IAF).
Alonso and Schlosser were expected to present information regarding the recent death of Alberto Nisman, an Argentine prosector who had been investigating the Iranian-orchestrated 1994 bombing of the AMIA Jewish center in Buenos Aires.
The accusations against Alonso and Schlosser were issued just days before the duo was scheduled to appear at the IAF summit. They canceled their trip and did not appear at the conference, prompting speculation that the accusation is part of a larger effort by the Argentine government to prevent further investigation into Iran’s role in the AMIA bombing.
Many suspect that Nisman was assassinated due to his investigation of the bombing.
Alonso has stated that Nisman felt threatened prior to his death and had concerns about the safety of his family. She rejected the notion that Nisman committed suicide, as officials initially claimed.
Before departing Argentina, Alonso and Schlosser were accused of "conspiring and doing international lobbying to continue with AMIA case," according to one source apprised of the situation who could only speak about the sensitive matter on background.
The incident is being viewed as part of a larger campaign by the government of President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner of Argentina to block further disclosures about Nisman and the AMIA bombing, which had long been a hot-button issue in the country.
"After the Nisman assassination, the Jewish community understood that in Argentina they can’t go further with the case" due to the threat of government interference, the source explained.
"The Iranians are there. The Iranians and their Latin American allies planned [Nisman’s killing] and planted the evidence" to make it appear like a suicide, the source added. "After that moment, [Nisman’s supporters] started to think that to continue with the case they needed to go internationally."
The canceled appearance at the IAF event, which brought together senior members of Congress and 20 Latin American lawmakers from 14 different countries, was supposed to bring attention to Iranian influence in Latin America and its suspected role in Nisman’s death.
Activists attempting to continue Nisman’s investigation, including Alonso and Schlosser, suspect that Argentine officials are working to discredit them.
Spanish-language papers have begun publishing reports attempting to portray Nisman’s supporters as corrupt.
The Argentine government also has launched investigations into the finances of Nisman’s family and friends.
Lawmakers who spoke during the IAF event said Nisman’s death should intensify efforts to continue investigation of the AMIA bombing.
"Many believe that Nisman was AMIA’s 85th victim given his untimely death under mysterious circumstances," Rep. Matt Salmon (R., Ariz.) said during a Monday discussion with the Latin American delegation in attendance.
Salmon went on to call for and "international investigation" into the circumstances surrounding Nisman’s death.
In remarks made during the conference, Luis Heber, a member of the Uruguayan senate, said Iran "killed him. There’s no doubt about that."