BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (JTA) — Argentinian President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner defended her decision to cooperate with Iran in investigating the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center.
“What I want to avoid … is the pain of the [victims’] families and the country’s shame by finding the path to break the deadlock,” de Kirchner said in a speech Thursday, adding, “The memorandum we have signed is a step towards unlocking a case that has been paralyzed for 19 yeras.”
Argentinean courts have accused Iran of sponsoring the attack on the AMIA Jewish community center, in which 85 people were killed. The pact signed with Tehran has been criticized by Israel and Jewish groups who fear it could end up weakening the case against Iranian officials.
The Argentine National Congress is scheduled to vote next week on the agreement, which is expected to pass as the president’s party is the majority.
Under the agreement, Iran and Argentina will form a five-member “truth commission” of international experts. Two will be nominated by Argentina, another two by Iran and a fifth member will be agreed upon by the two nations.
If approved, the agreement will see Argentinian prosecutors traveling to Tehran to question Iranian citizens whom Argentinian Judge Rodolfo Canicoba Corral accused of being involved in the attack.
DAIA, the Jewish political umbrella group, said in a statement Feb. , “We cannot validate this memorandum. It does nothing to advance the search of truth and justice.”