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Argentina lawmakers: Failure to walk out on Ahmadinejad spurs suspicions

JTA

October 4, 2011 | 11:22 am

Delegates walk out of the United Nations General Assembly in the midst of the speech by Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at the U.N. headquarters in New York, Sept. 22. REUTERS/Jessica Rinaldi

Delegates walk out of the United Nations General Assembly in the midst of the speech by Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at the U.N. headquarters in New York, Sept. 22. REUTERS/Jessica Rinaldi

Argentina reinforced the suspicion of a secret deal with Iran on two terrorist bombings when its U.N. mission failed to walk out on Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s General Assembly address, five Argentinian lawmakers said.

Given that “30 missions left the General Assembly in protest and total disapproval” during Ahmadinejad’s Sept. 22 speech, the lawmakers are demanding an explanation from Foreign Minister Hector Timerman about why Argentinian diplomats decided to remain while the Iranian leader questioned “the authorship of the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 in New York” and again questioned “the Jewish Holocaust, and the right of Israel to exist.”

The lawmakers called the speech “hurtful and offensive.”

In March, the Argentinian newspaper Perfil published accusations about a secret agreement between Argentina and Iran to suspend the investigation of attacks in 1992 and 1994. The first destroyed the headquarters of the Israeli Embassy and the second the AMIA Jewish Center in Buenos Aires. Eighty-five people were killed in the ‘94 attack and 300 were injured.

The article was written by Jose “Pepe” Eliashev; on Sunday he wrote in his column that he had “confirmed” the accusations.

President Cristina Fernandez told the General Assembly on Sept. 21 that Argentina was receptive to Iran’s request for dialogue about the bombing of the Buenos Aires Jewish center but that Tehran must hand over suspects in the Jewish center attack.

“We insist that Iran hand over the suspects of the AMIA atrocity,” Fernandez said during her U.N. address. “The proposal of dialogue we received from the Iranian government is a change of attitude, but does not satisfy the Argentinian request, although this is a proposal to dialogue that Argentina cannot reject.”

It was Fernandez’s first response to Iran’s proposal on July 16 for a “constructive dialogue” on the 1994 bombing. Fernandez had invited leaders of the Jewish umbrella organization DAIA and AMIA, as well as a group of relatives of the center’s bombing victims, to join her during her U.N. speech in New York.

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