State Changes Tune

Now ‘skeptical’ about Iran-Argentina ‘truth commission’

1994 Argentina Bombing / AP
January 29, 2013

The State Department said Tuesday it was "skeptical" that a newly formed Iranian-Argentine investigative commission would lead to a just resolution of the 1994 AMIA bombing, an apparent shift from the department’s more optimistic comments Monday.

"We are skeptical that such a just solution can be found in the arrangement announced," State Department spokesperson Peter Velasco told the Washington Free Beacon. "Iran’s record of cooperation with international authorities is profoundly deficient, which underlines the concern that its engagement on this matter be focused on achieving justice promptly."

This was a far stronger statement than the one given by State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland at Monday’s press briefing.

"We all obviously have all wanted to see the perpetrators brought to justice, so if the Argentine government thinks this might take us closer to that, then we'll have to—we'll have to see," said Nuland.

The clarification comes on the same day a top Israeli foreign ministry official blasted the Iranian-Argentine "truth commission" during a meeting with the Ambassador of Argentina to Israel today.

Israel’s deputy director-general for Latin America Itzhak Shoham "conveyed Israel's astonishment and disappointment at the Argentinean government's decision to collaborate with Iran after the latter's responsibility for the bombing of the AMIA Jewish Community Center was exposed by the investigation conducted by the Argentinean authorities themselves," according to a statement released by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Jerusalem.

Shoham also "protested the unacceptable attitude of the Argentinean government towards Israel since the beginning of contacts between Buenos Aires and Tehran." According to the MFA, Argentina has not responded to Israeli requests for information about its new collaboration with Iran.

The newly formed "truth commission" will be composed of jurists appointed by Argentina and Iran. It will investigate the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires that killed 85. Several former Iranian officials are wanted by Interpol in connection with the attack, which is suspected to have been planned by Iran and carried out by terrorist group Hezbollah.

"A lack of resolve in dealing with terrorism sends a message of weakness," said Shoham in a statement. "Had Argentina dealt resolutely with the 1992 attack on the Israeli embassy, the 1994 AMIA bombing might not have happened."