Iran TerrorismIran summons Argentina envoy in row over minister

Iran summons Argentina envoy in row over minister

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ImageReuters: Iran's Foreign Ministry summoned an Argentinian diplomat on Monday, after Buenos Aires condemned the nomination of Ahmad Vahidi as Iranian defense minister as "an affront to the victims" of an attack on a Jewish center.

ImageTEHRAN (Reuters) – Iran's Foreign Ministry summoned an Argentinian diplomat on Monday, after Buenos Aires condemned the nomination of Ahmad Vahidi as Iranian defense minister as "an affront to the victims" of an attack on a Jewish center.

Argentina's statement was a clear interference in Iran's internal affairs and is strongly condemned, Iranian media quoted the head of the Foreign Ministry's South America department as telling Argentina's charge d'affaires in Tehran.

Argentina accuses Vahidi and other senior Iranian officials of involvement in a 1994 attack on a Jewish center in Buenos Aires in which 85 people died. Iran has repeatedly denied this.

"Unfortunately some people and groups in Argentina, particularly in its judicial system, are defending the rights of zionists instead of defending the people of Argentina," the Iranian Foreign Ministry official, who was not named, said.

Argentina's Foreign Ministry last week condemned Vahidi's nomination by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, saying it was "an affront to the victims" of the bombing 15 years ago.

Argentina has formally accused Iran of masterminding the attack, in which a truck laden with explosives leveled the seven-story Argentine Israeli Mutual Association building, and is seeking the arrest of high-ranking government officials.

Vahidi, who is deputy defense minister in Iran's outgoing government, was nominated as new defense minister when Ahmadinejad unveiled his proposed 21-member cabinet to parliament last week after June's disputed presidential poll.

(Reporting by Reza Derakhshi; writing by Fredrik Dahl; editing by Robin Pomeroy)

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