Argentina requests Qatar arrest Iranian vice-president for 1994 Jewish centre bombing

Mohsen Rezai wanted for alleged participation in planning of attack that killed 85

Iranian former chief of the Revolutionary Guards Mohsen Rezai talks to the media after registering his candidacy for the June presidential elections, at the Interior Ministry in the capital Tehran, on May 15, 2021. (Photo by ATTA KENARE / AFP)
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Argentina on Monday called on Qatar to arrest a visiting Iranian vice president over his alleged responsibility for the deadly 1994 bombing of a Buenos Aires Jewish centre.

Iran's vice president for economic affairs, Mohsen Rezai, is wanted by Argentinian special prosecutors for alleged participation in the planning of the July 18, 1994 bomb attack against the Argentine Israelite Mutual Association (AMIA) which killed 85 people and wounded 300.

Special prosecutors submitted a petition to Argentina's foreign ministry calling for all appropriate diplomatic levers to be pulled, noting an outstanding Interpol red alert against Mr Rezai as well as newspaper clippings mentioning his visit to Qatar, according to the official Telam news agency.

A diplomatic source told AFP that the foreign ministry had granted the special prosecutor's request after confirming Mr Rezai's presence in the Gulf country.

The ministry “requested the collaboration of Interpol for the arrest,” while Foreign Minister Santiago Cafiero “instructed the Argentine ambassador in Doha … to communicate urgently with the Qatari Foreign Ministry and report on the situation”, the diplomatic source said.

Last January, the Argentinian government voiced its anger at Mr Rezai's presence during the inauguration of Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega, and had also condemned the Iranian's appointment as vice president in August 2021.

The government of President Alberto Fernandez said at the time that the appointment constituted “an affront to Argentine justice and to the victims of the brutal terrorist attack against the AMIA”.

Mr Rezai, who was commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps at the time, is part of a group of high-ranking Iranian officials accused by Argentina of masterminding the attack on the Jewish centre.

In 1992, the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires had been the target of another attack that left 29 dead and 200 wounded, and for which no one has ever been held accountable.

Argentina has the largest Jewish community in Latin America, with some 300,000 members.

Updated: October 18, 2022, 5:14 AM