This guest post by Eamonn McDonagh is also posted on the Z Word blog
Back in October I wrote about state prosecutor Albert Nissman seeking an order to freeze the Argentine assets of Hezbollah and the Iranian fugitives suspected of responsibility for the AMIA massacre, a bomb attack on a Jewish community centre in Buenos Aires which cost 85 people their lives on July 18th, 1994.
Nissman’s request was made in response to a claim for compensation by an – unnamed – victim of the attack and was thought to have only symbolic value as no one believed that any of the suspects had property in their name in this country. Now, to everyone’s surprise, it turns out that Moshen Rabbani, one of the wanted men and a former cultural attaché at the Iranian embassy, is the owner of a candy store, a parking lot, a butcher shop, a restaurant specializing in grilled beef, a pizzeria and a locutorio – a shop that provides telephone and internet services, all of which are located a short walk from where I am writing this post in the city of Buenos Aires. There are suspicions that some of these places may have been used as safe houses by people involved in carrying out the attack. According to the story here, Rabbani is believed to own other properties here too, and steps are being taken to identify them.
The terms of the asset freeze, granted by Federal Judge Rodolfo Canicoba Corral at Nissman’s request, mean that Rabbani will not be able to sell the businesses and, should he ever be convicted of a role in the bombing, they could be seized and sold at auction by the state to provide compensation for the victim mentioned above and others too. As there is no sign that Rabbani or any of the other accused have the slightest intention of presenting themselves to the Argentine authorities, and Iran has indicated that it won’t extradite them, there would appear to be little possibility of such a conviction ever being obtained.