AFP: An Iranian diplomat is due to appear Tuesday before an Argentine judge investigating charges that Iranian officials were involved in the 1994 deadly bombing of a Jewish organization. BUENOS AIRES, Nov 27, 2006 (AFP) – An Iranian diplomat is due to appear Tuesday before an Argentine judge investigating charges that Iranian officials were involved in the 1994 deadly bombing of a Jewish organization.
Moshen Baharvand, the highest ranking diplomat in Iran’s embassy in Argentina, will appear for the first time before federal judge Rodolfo Canicoba Corral, who is probing the attack that claimed 85 lives and injured 300 others.
The judge issued international arrest warrants on November 9 for former Iranian president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and other former top officials over the bombing of the AMIA Jewish charity building.
Iran retaliated by ordering arrest warrants to be issued against Corral and other investigators in the case.
But Baharvand has told local newspapers that his country wants to open a “channel of dialogue” with Argentina.
The Iranian diplomat’s scheduled appearance was seen in Buenos Aires as a conciliatory gesture designed to defuse diplomatic tensions between the two governments.
An association of friends and families of the bombing victims has been granted permission to attend the proceedings during Baharvand’s appearance, a lawyer for the association said.
Baharvand has insisted Iran can demonstrate it had no role in the attack.
“We can prove with documents that Iran had nothing to do with the attack. I am talking concrete proof,” Baharvand said in an interview published previously in the daily Clarin.
Lawyers for the Argentine Jewish Mutual Association have long accused the Iran-backed Shiite militia Hezbollah, based in Lebanon, of carrying out the attack.