Argentina’s Foreign Minister Hector Timerman announced his resignation as a member of the Asociación Mutual Israelita Argentina (AMIA) – the target of the 1994 terrorist bombing that killed 85 people, and for which the Argentine justice system has indicted several former Iranian government figures as having been responsible. In his letter, widely reported in the Argentine media, Timerman said he was issuing his “notice of resignation as a member and, since I do not belong to your organization anymore, the DAIA no longer has the right to speak on my behalf,” referencing the most important national umbrella of Argentine Jewish organizations founded in 1935.
“The motive of this decision is the certainty that both institutions (AMIA and DAIA) with their obstructionist actions continue to impede the progress into the investigation of the criminal terrorist attack that occurred on July 18, 1994, at the same time as they are feeding, perhaps unintentionally, campaigns by those who plan on using that tragedy for ends that are contrary to national interests,” Timerman wrote.
In response to Timerman’s letter of resignation, the AMIA released a statement, rejecting the Foreign Minister’s claims that the AMIA and DAIA are trying to “boycott” the investigation into the bombing.
“It is intolerable and unacceptable that there is the slightest hint that the institution and its authorities may have acted with the intention of obstructing the course of the investigation into the terrorist act which we were victims of,” said the AMIA in an official statement.
Similarly, President of the DAIA, Julio Schlosser, said, “it was the Iranians themselves who had the Memorandum be dropped, so we don’t understand the accusation by Timerman in his resignation letter when he says we had obstructionist attitudes.”
The move by the Foreign Minister comes at a time of intensified political pressure by the Argentine government, of which Timerman is a high-ranking member, upon judges and prosecutors to reverse the unconstitutionality of Argentina’s “truth commission” agreement with Iran to jointly investigate the bombing that Argentina has already formally accused Iran of perpetrating. The DAIA strongly objected to a joint investigation with the accused perpetrators of the bombing on their own headquarters, which the government views as “obstructionist.”
It also comes on the same day that a joint coroners’ inquest is meeting to attempt to resolve differences between rival autopsies on slain prosecutor Alberto Nisman. It was recently reported that prosecutor Viviana Fein received a letter from Roberto Godoy of the Supreme Court’s board of coroners, which indicated that the involvement of third parties in Nisman’s death has not been ruled out. There has also been a technically detailed autopsy by the family that found Nisman was murdered. It has been more than 100 days since his death by a gunshot to the head. Nisman’s death came one day before he was to testify in Congress on the evidence he’d obtained on the alleged involvement by Timerman and President Cristina Kirchner, among others, to use the MOU to provide impunity to Iran in exchange for improved trade ties.
According to Mark Lagon of Freedom House, in Washington, D.C., the Argentine government has been interfering with the investigation into Nisman’s death on an almost permanent basis. “The investigation into the episode was sloppy,” he wrote in El Pais of Spain, “permanently affected by the actions of the government and the pressure on judges and prosecutors handling the case.”