Argentina Asks World at U.N.: Don’t Harbor Iranian Terrorists

Iranian Arabs who are members of the paramilitary Basij force march in a military parade marking the 35th anniversary of Iraq's 1980 invasion of Iran, in front of the shrine of late revolutionary founder Ayatollah Khomeini, just outside Tehran, Iran, Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2015. President Rouhani lauded his country's military …
AP/Vahid Salemi

The president of Argentina, Mauricio Macri, requested before the U.N. General Assembly on Tuesday that his peers not harbor Iranian terrorists implicated in the 1994 bombing of the Argentine-Israeli Mutual Association (AMIA), the deadliest terrorist attack in the Western Hemisphere before September 11, 2001.

Macri urged the Iranian government to concede that it had helped plan the attack and for Tehran to cooperate with Buenos Aires in bringing those responsible to justice. In 2007, Interpol issued red alerts for six individuals Argentine prosecutor Alberto Nisman found to have helped plan the attack. The list included Iranian diplomats believed to be working for Tehran to this day.

Nisman was found dead of a gunshot wound on January 18, 2015, hours before he was to testify to the Argentine Congress that then-president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner promised the Iranian government to protect the terrorists identified in exchange for favorable oil deals. The suspects Nisman identified remain at large.

“Argentina condemns terrorism in all its forms and manifestations,” Macri, who made solving Nisman’s death a key campaign promise in 2015, told the General Assembly in remarks Tuesday. “We suffered it directly with two grave attacks in 1992 and 1994 [both on the AMIA], which took the lives of 107 people and injured hundreds.”

“Our country will not cease in its objective: to ensure that all those involved in the attacks appear before Argentine courts, be interrogated, and eventually, condemned,” Macri continued. “To that end, and considering that next year will mark the 25th anniversary of the AMIA attack, I would like to once again ask the Islamic Republic of Iran to cooperate with Argentina judicial authorities to advance the investigation of the most brutal terrorist attack on our territory.”

“We also ask nations friendly to Argentina to accompany us by refusing to receive or give safe harbor under diplomatic immunity to any of those implicated, as they are subject to international orders of capture through Interpol red alerts,” Macri added.

Interpol issued six red alerts in 2007 at the behest of Nisman and his team for six Iranian nationals believed to have planned and executed the 1994 AMIA attack: Imad Fayez Mughniyah, Ali Fallahijan, Mohsen Rabbani, Ahmad Reza Asghari, Ahmad Vahidi, and Mohsen Rezai.

Mughniyah is believed to have helped the Shiite terrorist groups Islamic Jihad; Rezai was a commander in Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). The others were high-ranking members of the Iranian government: Vahidi was Iran’s Defense Minister and Fallahian the Minister of Intelligence. Rabbani and Asghari were diplomats, and as recently as 2016 Rabbani was still leading diplomatic missions to countries like Colombia with impunity.

Acknowledging that Argentina has been arguably the Latin American nation most closely touched by radical Islamic terrorism, Macri also took a moment on Tuesday to honor the lives of five Argentine nationals killed in October last year while visiting New York, the victims of Islamic State fanatic Sayfullo Saipov, who drove a rented Home Depot truck into a crowd in Manhattan on Halloween. Saipov killed Argentines Hernán Diego Mendoza, Diego Enrique Angelini, Alejandro Damián Pagnucco, Ariel Erlij, and Hernán Ferruchi, who were in New York to celebrate their 30-year college reunion.

Macri’s call for the international community to end impunity for Iranian terrorists came on the same day that Iranian President Hassan Rouhani took the podium, who did not address the AMIA bombings. The only terrorism Rouhani addressed at the U.N. was the “economic terrorism” he claimed the United States was using to weaken the Iranian regime in response to its growing violent interventions in the region. Iran has staked a military claim in Lebanon, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, and Afghanistan, as well as playing a key role in supporting the socialist regime in Venezuela.

“The economic war that the United States has initiated under the rubric of new sanctions not only targets the Iranian people, but also entails harmful repercussions for the people of other countries and that war has caused a disruption in the state of global trade,” Rouhani said.

President Donald Trump, who also spoke Tuesday, accused Iran of sowing “chaos, death, and destruction” and urged the world to isolate the Islamic regime. “They do not respect their neighbors or borders, or the sovereign rights of nations. Instead, Iran’s leaders plunder the nation’s resources to enrich themselves and to spread mayhem across the Middle East and far beyond,” Trump concluded.

Follow Frances Martel on Facebook and Twitter.

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