Page last updated at 21:57 GMT, Sunday, 23 August 2009 22:57 UK

Terror suspect 'to get' Iran job

General Ahmad Vahidi
Gen Vahidi allegedly organised Argentina's worst terrorist attack

Iran's nomination for defence minister is likely to be approved despite being linked to a bombing in Argentina, an influential politician has said.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad nominated Gen Ahmad Vahidi - even though he is wanted by Interpol for the 1994 attack on a Jewish centre that left 85 dead.

Iran's foreign policy committee chairman, Alaeddin Boroujerdi, said the allegations may increase his support.

Iran accused Argentina of "meddling" after it condemned the nomination.

Gen Vahidi is one of five Iranians sought by Argentina over the bombing in Buenos Aires - the worst terrorist attack in the country's history.

At the time he commanded the Quds Force, a unit of the Revolutionary Guard responsible for foreign operations.

Since 1994, the judiciary of Argentina has failed to provide a single piece of evidence
Hasan Qashqavi
Iranian foreign ministry spokesman

Re-elected Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad - who was forced to back down over his choice of first vice president - nominated Gen Vahidi as his defence chief in his new cabinet.

But unlike the previous nomination, it is thought Gen Vahidi's role will be given the green light in a vote on 1 September.

Mr Boroujerdi said allegations of involvement in the bombing "will not have any negative impact on the assessment" of Gen Vahidi nominee.

'Disturbing' nomination

"Rather, it may increase his vote", he told Iran's official IRNA news agency.

But the nomination has brought displeasure from US President Barack Obama, who said the general's presence in the Iranian cabinet would be "disturbing".

Israel had also condemned the selection.

Bereaved hold pictures of the dead
Bereaved relatives on 18 August - the 15th anniversary of the attack

And Argentinean prosecutor Alberto Nisman said Vahidi was accused of "being a key participant in the planning and of having made the decision to go ahead with the attack."

In 2007 Interpol said it would seek the arrest of Gen Vahidi and four other Iranians.

Iran has always denied that Gen Vahidi or the Iranian state had a role in the attack.

Iran's foreign ministry spokesman Hasan Qashqavi said: "Since 1994, the judiciary of Argentina has failed to provide a single piece of evidence against Iranian diplomats, officials as well as military people."

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