Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Argentina and Iran to investigate AMIA bombing

This is a significant move in Argentina: the government has reached an agreement with Iran to set up a truth commission to investigate the 1994 AMIA bombing. The commission will be made up of five independent judges, none of whom will be from either Argentina or Iran. Iran will now permit prosecutors to interrogate suspects in Tehran.

Amia bombing: Argentina and Iran agree truth commission (BBC)
Deal Reached for Inquiry on Bombing in Argentina (New York Times)
Argentina/Iran ‘Truth Commission’ to resolve 1994 bombing of Jewish centre in Buenos Aires (Mercopress)

Israel has condemned the decision. An Israeli spokesman said the move was tantamount to "inviting a murderer to investigate his own killings".

Amia bombing: Israel condemns Argentina-Iran probe (BBC)
Israel Rebukes Argentina for Deal With Iran to Investigate ’94 Attack (New York Times)

Argentine foreign minister Héctor Timerman has met with members of Jewish organizations and families of victims to discuss the plans.

Timerman meets with DAIA, AMIA and relatives of victims, rejects criticism (Buenos Aires Herald)

The Economist suggests that Argentina has "burnt bridges" with Israel over the agreement, which it sees as a further step in Christina Fernandez's "increasingly combative" foreign policy. Meanwhile, Jennifer Rubin in the Washington Post says that the move is "disturbing" and predicts a "Mickey Mouse commission". La Nación also expresses scepticism in its editorial.

Here's Monday's cover of Pagina/12:

A dar respuestas ante la Justicia argentina (Pagina/12)

So that's a fair amount of criticism of the commission before it has even been formed. I agree with Boz that it's rash to prejudge. It would also be unwise to get one's hopes up too soon, but essentially, I think that barring all possibility of talking to Iran about anything gets you nowhere. We'll see how this develops.

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