Iran,  Latin America

The continuing farce in Argentina

The tragic farce surrounding the death of Argentinian AMIA bombing prosecutor Alberto Nisman continues unabated.

Reuters reports:

The Argentinian government took out full-page advertisements in local newspapers on Wednesday, stressing that a stalled agreement with Iran remained the best way to get to the bottom of the deadly 1994 bombing of a Buenos Aires Jewish community center.

An Argentine federal court last year struck down the controversial deal, which would have allowed the interrogation of Iranian suspects. Tehran denies any responsibility for the attack that killed 85 and refuses to extradite its citizens.

The investigation has become front-page news again since the beginning of the year, when the lead prosecutor accused President Cristina Fernandez of seeking to derail his probe. Four days later, he was found dead with a bullet wound to the head.

“It is only possible to ratify the path traced by the executive power and the national congress through the memorandum of understanding, a tool that would enable us to interrogate the Iranian citizens accused,” the government said in the ad, framed with a border in the light blue of the national flag.

“This situation would put the Argentine state in a better position regarding Iran and the international community to demand extradition or negotiate a trial in a third party country.”
In the ad on Wednesday, the government raised questions over Nisman’s motivation for pressing cover-up charges despite simultaneously acknowledging its efforts.

“Could there be any hypothesis other than that he was trying to destabilize politics?” it asked.

The government has said Nisman’s charges were part of a plan to smear the president’s name and carry out a coup d’etat. The South American country has experienced six coups in the last century.

As I noted two years ago, after the announcement of an Argentianian-Iranian “truth commission” to investigate the bombing, Iran specifically rejected the claim of Argentina’s foreign minister that an Argentinian judge would be allowed to question Iranian suspects.

“The matter of questioning of some of the Iranian officials is a sheer lie. It seems that those who are concerned by the actual agreement are spreading such reports,” Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said at his weekly press conference.

As for the chances of the Iranian regime approving the extradition of any suspects to Argentina to face trial– they are about as good as the chances of Supreme Leader Khamenei declaring the end of the Islamic Republic and its replacement with a secular democracy.

And yet the regime of President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner announces that it wants to revive this thoroughly discredited scheme while again taking the opportunity to smear Nisman.

Meanwhile an independent forensic report shows that Nisman’s death on January 18 was the result of murder rather than suicide, according to his ex-wife.

“Nisman did not have an accident, he did not commit suicide, Nisman was murdered – it constitutes a magnicide of unknown proportions for this country,” Arroyo Salgado told a hushed room packed with reporters.

She underlined that the findings in this report contradicted the few details that have been released from the judicial investigation into Nisman’s death. Full results of the official autopsy have not yet been made public by Argentinian authorities. Though no official ruling has been made on Nisman’s cause of death, the investigation has leaned strongly towards suicide.

Fernández’s government, meanwhile, has wavered back and forth between suggesting it was suicide and a political murder by rogue intelligence agents out to discredit Fernández.

A number of irregularities at the alleged crime scene and the official investigation that followed “have contributed to, or at least extended the duration of, impunity in this case”, Arroyo Salgado said.

Update: The Argentinian government also paid for full-page ads in American newspapers, including The Washington Post.