Argentina court blames Iran for deadly 1994 bombing of Jewish center

Last Updated: June 21, 2024By

Seeking Justice: Argentina’s Verdict on 1994 Bombing


A bombshell ruling from Argentina’s highest criminal court has pointed fingers at Iran for the tragic 1994 assault on a Jewish community hub in Buenos Aires, branding it a “crime against humanity” in a move that sets the stage for victims to pursue justice.

That monstrous explosion at the Argentinian Israelite Mutual Association (AMIA) was pinned on a suicide bomber cruising in a hijacked van packed with explosives. It snuffed out 85 lives, injured 300, and shattered Latin America’s largest Jewish enclave.

In a recent verdict, the judges pinned the bombing on the Shia militant outfit Hezbollah, citing a “political and strategic scheme” hatched by Iran. They claimed the attack was payback for Argentina pulling the plug on a nuclear collaboration pact with Tehran.

Leaders from Argentina’s Jewish community hailed the court’s decision as “epoch-making” and “unprecedented,” heralding it as a gateway for victims’ kin to pursue legal recourse against the Islamic Republic.

Javier Milei, Argentina’s president, hailed the ruling as a “significant leap forward,” slamming the door on years of “obfuscation and stalling,” in an official statement.


While Argentina’s legal system has long fingered Iran for the assault, collaborative probes and Interpol warrants have hit dead ends. Iran has balked at extraditing nationals convicted in Argentina and vehemently denied involvement.

Prosecutors implicated high-ranking Iranian officials and Hezbollah operatives in orchestrating the bombing, along with a 1992 assault on the Israeli embassy in Argentina, claiming 22 lives.

“The gravity of these egregious human rights breaches on the global stage underscores a state’s obligation to furnish legal protection,” wrote Carlos Mahiques, the judge advocating for legal reforms.

In 2013, Argentina and Iran inked a pact to establish a truth commission probing the attack, but the deal fizzled out, sparking accusations against then-president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner of orchestrating a cover-up.

Mahiques underscored the pivotal role of former prosecutor Alberto Nisman, who probed the attack and was found dead in January 2015 after implicating Fernández de Kirchner in concealing Iran’s purported involvement.

“[Nisman] was crystal clear that these circumstances laid the groundwork for the AMIA attack, which, if pursued to its logical end, could have yielded tangible results prior to this ruling,” Mahiques told local radio.

However, the court fell short of furnishing concrete evidence of Iran’s direct role or shedding fresh light on the case after three decades of setbacks and scandals. The initial probe into the AMIA bombing was marred by bungling and allegations of witness tampering and cover-ups.

“I wouldn’t discount Iran; it’s certainly a suspect, but let’s zero in on something to confirm its involvement,” said Joe Goldman, co-author of a book chronicling the convoluted probes into the Jewish center attack and the 1992 embassy bombing. “That warrants a serious investigation, which we’re yet to witness.”

The court singled out senior Iranian officials and paramilitary Revolutionary Guard brass in its finding that Iran orchestrated the bombings in retaliation for Argentina scrapping three contracts slated to furnish Tehran with nuclear know-how in the mid-1980s, basing its conclusions on confidential intel reports.

For the bereaved families of the bombing victims, the ruling served as a stark reminder of their unending pain, with the case still unresolved.

“We cling to hope for eventual justice and truth,” lamented Memoria Activa, an association of victims’ families. “And for these judges to cease capitalizing on our losses.”

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