Argentina, Iran Agree on Joint Panel to Probe 1994 Bombing

Argentina and Iran agreed to set up an international commission to investigate the 1994 bombing of a Jewish center in Buenos Aires, according to a joint declaration by their foreign ministries today.

The commission will have five members, two of them designated by each country, while the president will be agreed upon jointly.

The blast in July 1994, which left 85 people dead, was the second terror attack in the city in a two-year span, following a 1992 bombing of the Israeli embassy. Argentina has accused current and former Iranian officials, including Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi, of involvement. Iran has rejected the accusations.

“It’s an important step that’s been taken by the two countries because this case has been around for 18 years,” Iran’s Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi told reporters today in Addis Ababa, where he’s attending an African Union summit. “It’s about time for it to be resolved.”

The commission will review documents supplied by both countries and be able to interrogate suspects in Iran, according to the statement.

Israel has warned the Argentine government “not to let itself be manipulated” in discussions to set up the panel, Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said in a telephone interview from Jerusalem today.

“Obviously, anyone who has tried to cooperate on anything with Iran has found themselves tricked and ridiculed,” Palmor said. “We are a party in all this and expect to be kept up to date on the findings.”