–by Sharon Bender
B’nai B’rith International once again marks the anniversary of the bomb attack on the Argentine-Israelite Mutual Association (AMIA) building. The July 18, 1994 terror attack on the heart of the Argentinean Jewish community killed 85 and wounded 300. Seventeen years later, no one has been brought to justice, though Iranian officials have been tied to the attack.
Iran’s ties to the attack are well known. Five years ago, an Argentine prosecutor detailed how top Iranian leaders including Hashemi Rafsanjani, Iran’s president at the time, ordered Hezbollah to kill Jews in Buenos Aires.
This makes the embrace of Tehran by some of Argentina’s neighbors all the more troubling.
“Iran is more dangerous now than it was in 1994,” B’nai B’rith International President Allan J. Jacobs said. “AMIA should serve as a cautionary tale to the far too many Latin American nations seeking closer ties with Tehran.”
More after the jump.
The recent official visit to Bolivia of Iranian Minister of Defense Ahmad Vahidi, a suspect in the AMIA case, was a travesty. Vahidi has been on an Interpol wanted list for his connection with the horrendous attack. Soon after the start of the trip, Bolivia asked Vahidi to leave the country and the Bolivian government apologized to Argentina’s government, saying the Defense Ministry was not aware of Vahidi’s affiliation with the bombing.
“Way too much time has passed, but it’s not too late to bring the perpetrators to justice,” B’nai B’rith International Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin said. “We must stay vigilant. This act of terror cannot go unanswered.”
For 17 years, B’nai B’rith, with its deep ties throughout Latin America, has called for those responsible for this attack to be brought to justice.