Argentina welcomes Iran overture on 1994 bombing

Reuters News
Posted: Jul 17, 2011 7:05 PM
Argentina welcomes Iran overture on 1994 bombing

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - Argentina on Sunday welcomed an offer from Iran to help investigate the 1994 bombing of a Buenos Aires Jewish center that killed 85 people and which local prosecutors blame on Iranian officials.

Argentine prosecutors say that Iranian Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi is among those behind the attack. Iran denies any links to the bombing.

Local newspapers over the weekend carried a news release from the Iranian government offering to start talks aimed at "shedding light" on the bombing that leveled the Argentine Israeli Mutual Association building.

"The foreign ministry hopes to receive an official communication from its Iranian counterpart," the Argentine government said in a statement, which went on to call the overture from Iran "unprecedented and very positive."

But the AMIA issued a statement saying the organization did not believe Iran's offer to be sincere. "We know Iran very well and we recognize this as a joke," the statement said, pointing out that Monday will mark the 17th anniversary of the bombing.

(Reporting by Maximiliano Rizzi and Hugh Bronstein)