Argentina asks Russia to arrest Iranian official over ’94 Jewish center bombing


BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (JTA) — An Argentine federal judge investigating the 1994 Buenos Aires AMIA Jewish center bombing has asked Russian officials to arrest a high-level Iranian adviser to the country’s supreme leader in connection with the attack.

Alí Akbar Velayati was scheduled to meet with President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday in Moscow. Velayati, who was Iran’s foreign minister at the time of the terrorist attack and has been implicated in ordering the bombing, is now an adviser on international affairs to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Velayati is among special envoys that Iran is sending to various countries in response to the U.S. withdrawal earlier this year from the 2015 nuclear deal.

“After Mr. Trump’s strategic mistake in unilaterally withdrawing, the Islamic Republic of Iran decided to send special envoys to different countries conveying the message of high officials of Iran containing our stances, positions, and approaches towards this arrogant and illegal move of the U.S.,” Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi said in describing the Wednesday visit of Velayati to Moscow.

Following news reports of the visit, Judge Rodolfo Canicoba Corral requested the arrest of Velayati. There has been an international arrest warrant against Velayati and seven other Iranian officials since 2006. The AMIA bombing killed 85 and injured hundreds.

Iran also is believed to be behind the 1992 car bombing that destroyed the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires, killing 29 and injuring 242.

In 2016, ahead of another Velayati trip, Argentina made requests for his arrest to Singapore and Malaysia but was not successful.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also was expected to meet with Putin in Moscow on Wednesday.

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