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Last Updated: Wednesday, 7 November 2007, 21:02 GMT
Argentina bomb warrants approved
Bomb damage at the Jewish centre in Buenos Aires in 1994
No-one has been convicted for the 18 July 1994 bombing
The international police agency, Interpol, has voted to approve arrest warrants issued by Argentina for five prominent Iranians and a Lebanese.

The warrants were issued in connection with the bombing of a Jewish cultural centre in Buenos Aires in 1994.

Eighty-five people were killed in the attack, the worst in Argentine history.

Tehran objected to the vote, calling the investigation flawed and saying the US and Israel were using Interpol to try to brand Iran a terrorist state.

The general assembly of Interpol voted by 78 to 14, with 26 abstentions, in favour of a March 2007 decision by its executive committee to issue "red notices" against the five Iranians.

"Politics overruled the rule of justice. It was not a vote for justice, it was a political vote," the director of the international law department of Iran's ministry of foreign affairs, Alireza Deihim told AFP.

Argentina welcomed the decision and rejected the Iranian claims that the vote had been politicised.

"This shows that even after 13 years have passed, one can fight for justice with the tools that the law provides to fight terrorism," Argentina's chief prosecutor, Alberto Nisman, said after the vote.

Top Iranians wanted

Argentine authorities accuse Iranian officials of having masterminded the bombing which they say was carried out by the Shia radical movement Hezbollah, based in Lebanon.

Former Iranian President, Ali Akbar Rafsanjani
Argentine wanted to arrest former Iran president, Ali Akbar Rafsanjani

The Iranian suspects include the former Iranian intelligence chief, Ali Fallahian and the former leader of the elite Revolutionary Guards, Mohsen Rezaei.

In 2006, Argentine prosecutors issued arrest warrants against eight prominent Iranians, among them former president, Ali Akbar Rafsanjani, and former foreign minister, Ali Akbar Velayati.

But in March, Interpol withdrew three warrants, among them those for the two top politicians, keeping in place five arrest warrants.

Acquitted defendants

In 2004, a court in Argentina had cleared five men accused of involvement in the bombing of the Jewish centre.

The defendants, four former police officers and an alleged car thief, had been dubbed the "local connection" by Argentine journalists.

Prosecutors argued they were part of a car-stealing ring that delivered the vehicle which was then rigged with explosives outside the offices of the Jewish-Argentine Mutual Association, or Amia, in Buenos Aires.

The attack was the second bombing targeting Jews in Argentina.

Two years earlier, a blast destroyed the Israeli embassy, killing 29 people, a case that also remains unsolved.



SEE ALSO
Argentina bomb suspects acquitted
02 Sep 04 |  Americas
Argentina removes bomb case judge
03 Dec 03 |  Americas
Iran blamed for Argentina bomb
06 Nov 03 |  Middle East
Flashback: Argentina bomb
25 Aug 03 |  Americas

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