The chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs Middle East and North Africa Subcommittee said on the 19th anniversary of the bombing of a Jewish center in Buenos Aires that she’ll be calling a hearing to delve into revelations of Iran’s activity in Latin America.
Special prosecutor Alberto Nisman recently issued a searing 500-page indictment on the 1994 bombing of the Argentina Jewish Mutual Association (AMIA), drawing meticulous and harrowing connections between Iran and Islamic radicalism in the Western Hemisphere, but was blocked by the Argentine government from coming to Washington to brief Congress on his findings.
“Almost two decades ago, Iran, through the coordinated efforts of its embassy and its proxy Hezbollah, attacked the AMIA Jewish Community Center in Buenos Aires and the lives of 85 men, women and children, and left over 300 wounded. My heart and prayers go out to the victims’ family members who have had to suffer this grave injustice and I support their efforts to hold those responsible accountable,” Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) said.
“As we mark this anniversary, we are reminded of the danger that the Iranian regime presents not only through its nuclear program, but also through its unrelenting efforts to export its violent extremism into our own Hemisphere.”
Ros-Lehtinen stressed that Nisman’s report proved “this terrorist attack was part of a larger scheme by the Iranian regime to expand its influence and represents a real threat to our national security interests and to regional security.”
“The AMIA attack further reminds us of the lengths to which Iran and its proxies are ready, willing, and able to cause destruction and to wantonly disregard human life,” she added. “I intend to convene a hearing at the end of the month to further investigate the threats posed by the Iranian regime in Latin America.”
Nisman’s testimony was sought by Foreign Affairs and the House Homeland Security Committee, and the prosecutor intended to brief administration officials on the threat as well.
The Argentine government’s historical lack of forthrightness surrounding the AMIA bombing — and recent coziness with Iran on the investigation — just leads to suspicion over President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner’s true intentions in keeping Nisman bottled up.