Iran TerrorismArgentina calls for arrest of Iran minister over bombing

Argentina calls for arrest of Iran minister over bombing

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ImageAFP: Iran's newly nominated defense minister "should be arrested" for his alleged role in a 1994 Buenos Aires bombing that killed 85 people, Argentina's top minister Anibal Fernandez said Monday.

ImageBUENOS AIRES (AFP) — Iran's newly nominated defense minister "should be arrested" for his alleged role in a 1994 Buenos Aires bombing that killed 85 people, Argentina's top minister Anibal Fernandez said Monday.

The "red notice" on Ahmad Vahidi approved in 2007 by Interpol's general assembly makes his arrest "mandatory in any country," Cabinet Chief Fernandez told reporters.

Fernandez was reacting to Iran's earlier summoning of Argentina's charge d'affaires to protest criticism of the man wanted by Buenos Aires in connection with the Jewish community center bombing that killed 85 people and wounded 300.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's tapping of Vahidi to head the defense ministry is "an affront to Argentine justice and the victims of the terrorist attack," Buenos Aires had said.

Argentine prosecutors allege Iran masterminded the bombing and entrusted the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah to execute it.

No single individual has ever been convicted for the bombing — the worst terrorist attack in Argentina, which has the largest Jewish community in the Americas outside the United States.

Ahmadinejad's spokesman brushed aside the criticism as part of a "Zionist plot" and questioned why it was being discussed now, since Vahidi has already been serving as a deputy defense minister

In November 2006, Argentine prosecutors issued arrest warrants against several Iranians, including former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and former foreign minister Ali Akbar Velayati.

But Interpol's executive committee later withdrew its warrants against Rafsanjani, Velayati and another Iranian.

In 2007, Interpol formally distributed the Argentine arrest warrant for Vahidi to its 187 member countries.

However, according to Interpol's website, a red notice "is not an international arrest warrant," but allows "the warrant to be circulated worldwide with the request that the wanted person be arrested with a view to extradition."

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