Rezai and Velayati were among President-elect Hassan Rouhani’s challengers in this year’s presidential election. “In any part of the world, they would be in prison; in Iran, they run for president,” Nisman said.
Nisman said last week that Rouhani, then secretary of the National Security Council, was not at the meeting that green-lighted the 1994 bombing — but has “irrefutable proof” that Iranian leaders coordinated the attack.
Incredibly, Argentina agreed with Tehran this January to put the case to rest not by necessarily bringing any of the suspects to justice, but by establishing a joint “truth commission” whereby Iran would investigate its own involvement in the terror attack. The memorandum of understanding was given Tehran’s final stamp of approval in May, just before Nisman released his damning report.
“To not allow him to travel to the U.S. is a misguided act and it reaffirms the truth commission is a farce,” Ros-Lehtinen told PJM, adding the restriction on Nisman coming before Congress is a “deplorable situation” that “goes against his right to freedom of expression and freedom of travel.”
“Iran continues to harbor and support extremist elements,” she said. “…Shame on President Kirchner and anyone who’s had any say about not allowing him to come.”
Ros-Lehtinen said she believes Kirchner is “betting on Iran being the winner in all of this power play” — and assuming that Iran will have more sway over the continent in the long run than the United States.
The Islamic Republic’s expanded influence in the Western Hemisphere was even confirmed in the State Department’s annual international terrorism assessment, which was sent to Congress a day after Nisman issued his report and warned that sponsorship of terror by Iran and Hezbollah has surged to “a tempo unseen since the 1990s” with attacks spanning three continents.
The report implicated Iran in attacks in India, Thailand, Georgia and Kenya, as well as the plot to murder the Saudi ambassador in Washington. “The thwarted plot demonstrated Iran’s interest in using international terrorism – including in the United States – to further its foreign policy goals,” the State Department said.
Ros-Lehtinen noted the wave of Iran’s diplomatic and cultural missions popping up across Latin America. “No one in Latin America is trying to get to Iran,” she said. “These are being used as fronts to deepen their influence in the Western Hemisphere.”
Nisman said Iran’s terror network in Guyana was behind the 2007 plot to blow up the jet-fuel supplies at JFK International Airport. Two men, a U.S. citizen and a Guyanese citizen, were convicted in the conspiracy in 2010.
Ros-Lehtinen said she expected Nisman, who has been brushed off as a “Zionist” by Iran, to travel beyond Washington during his time in the U.S. and meet with some Jewish groups.
She said the Foreign Affairs Committee was waiting until Nisman had secured his visa to schedule a hearing, but now, in an effort to get around Argentina’s ridiculous block on his visit, they may have to ask the prosecutor to brief lawmakers via videoconference.
Ros-Lehtinen is still hoping Nisman will be able to air his warning of the broad terror threat in person, in public before the committee. “We could schedule it in a New York minute,” she said.