Iranian President-elect Hassan Rohani
was on the special Iranian government committee that plotted the 1994 bombing
of a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires,
the Washington Free Beacon reported Thursday. The bombing left 85 people dead and hundreds wounded.
Argentina had accused the Iranian government of planning the attack and Hezbollah
of carrying it out and numerous Iranian officials are still wanted by Interpol in connection with the attack.
Former Iranian intelligence official Abolghasem Mesbahi, who defected from Iran
in the late 1990s, testified that the decision to launch the attack was made within a special operations committee connected to the powerful Supreme National Security Council in August 1993, the Washington Free Beacon reported.
Buenos Aires, 1994 (Photo: AFP)
According to a 2006 indictment by the Argentine government prosecutor investigating the case, Mesbahi testified that Rohani, who was then serving as secretary of the Supreme National Security Council, was also a member of the special committee when it approved the AMIA bombing.
The report further stated that Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei led
the special committee and Khamenei and Rafsanjani made the ultimate decision to go ahead with the attack.
While Rohani was allegedly present for deliberations about the planned bombing, it is highly unlikely he would have had approval authority, Iran experts claim.
“Rohani’s power at that time comes directly from one individual, and that’s Rafsanjani,” said Reuel Gerecht, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracy.
Monument for victims (Photo: AP)
“As far as that bombing was concerned, because Rafsanjani had to give his approval for that, there was no doubt Rohani was aware of it, and obviously his approval’s not necessary,” Gerecht continued. “He’s a subordinate. But he certainly would have been aware of all the discussions that led to the attack.”
Rohani has been portrayed as a moderate reformer by the media and some Iranian regime supporters despite his close relationship Khamenei. He also supported deadly crackdowns on student protesters in 1999, and claimed that he deceived the West into allowing Iran’s nuclear program to progress while serving as Iran’s nuclear negotiator with the Europeans.
Gerecht said it is difficult to determine exactly what role Rowhani may have played in the AMIA bombing but added that there was “nothing in his background that would suggest he has any moral qualms about bombing the enemies of the (Islamic) Republic.”
“In all probability, we would have heard about it if (Rohani) had risen up (at the meeting) and said ‘Don’t do that, it’s a disgrace,’” said Gerecht. “We would have known that.”
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