|Argentina tells Israel to back off over bomb investigation
Argentina has swung back after Israel protested an accord reached with Iran over a 1994 attack on a Jewish center in Buenos Aires, accusing the Jewish state of meddling in its affairs.
Israel had summoned Argentina's ambassador on Tuesday to complain about the decision to create an independent commission to investigate the attack – which killed 85 people – saying Iran had been clearly implicated in it, AFP reports.
But on Wednesday Argentine Foreign Minister Hector Timerman summoned Israeli Ambassador Dorit Shavit to express “surprise and discomfort,’’ at Israel's action, insisting that the decision had nothing to do with the Jewish state, according to an official statement.
The Argentine government has described the summoning of its ambassador as “improper,’’ saying it runs “contrary to the traditional relations of friendship that exist between the two countries’’ and noting that none of the victims of the attack on the AMIA Jewish community center was Israeli.
Argentina announced the agreement to create a “truth commission’’ – composed of five jurists from third countries – to investigate the bombing, drawing fire from Israel and Argentina's sizable Jewish community.
Argentine President Cristina Kirchner, who announced the deal Sunday, said the agreement may allow Argentine authorities to finally question suspects currently the subject of Interpol red notices.
Argentina has long accused Iran of masterminding the deadly attack and has since 2006 sought the extradition of eight Iranians, including current Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi and former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani.
Iran has always denied any involvement in the bombing and has refused to arrest the suspects.
Israel on Tuesday “protested the unacceptable attitude of the Argentine government towards Israel since the beginning of contacts between Buenos Aires and Tehran,’’ according to foreign ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor.