Nearly six months after a bomb ripped through the Argentine Jewish community’s headquarters in Buenos Aires, the Argentine government has formally withdrawn its ambassador to Iran.
Shortly after the July 18 attack, which left nearly 100 people killed and more than 200 wounded, Argentine officials investigating the blast indicated that Iran was behind the attack.
On the basis of that assessment, Argentina withdrew its ambassador to Iran on July 27. This week’s development formalized the earlier decision, but fell short of severing relations entirely with Iran.
“It doesn’t deal with a cut in relations, which continue on a commercial level,” a spokesman for the Argentine Foreign Ministry said in announcing the move Tuesday.
“It’s only that we cannot maintain full relations while the investigation into the attack is not resolved,” he said.
Although Argentine officials still have few clues about who was responsible for the attack on the building housing the Argentine Jewish Mutual Association, this week’s move “underscores that Iran still appears to be implicated in the bombing,” said Elan Steinberg, executive director of the World Jewish Congress.
The Argentine government has reported little progress in its investigations into both the July attack and the March 1992 bombing of the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires that killed 30 people and injured 250 others.
There are no suspects in the 1992 attack, and only one suspect is currently in jail for last summer’s terrorist massacre. He is an Argentine citizen of Arab ancestry who allegedly sold the bomb-laden van that was used in the attack.