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Americas

Furor over proposed defence minister, who is wanted by Interpol

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2009-08-22

A spokesperson for Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Argentina's objection to Iran's choice of defence minister, who is wanted for the 1994 bombing of a Jewish organisation in Buenos Aires that killed 85 people, was a "zionist plot".

AFP - Iran on Friday dismissed Argentina's outraged reaction to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's nomination as defence minister of a veteran official wanted over a deadly 1994 bombing in Buenos Aires.
   
Ahmadinejad press adviser Ali Akbar Javanfekr said he saw a Zionist hand in the fuss over Ahmad Vahidi's nomination.
   
"How come didn't they bring it up in the past?" Javanfekr asked.
   
"Mr Vahidi was a deputy defence minister and this is very senior political position.
   
"Therefore it seems that this is a new trick being planned and is basically a Zionist plot," he told AFP.
   
Vahidi is one of a number of senior Iranian officials and former officials wanted by Argentina in connnection with the bombing of the Argentine Jewish Mutual Association building in Buenos Aires which killed 85 people and wounded 300.
   
A warrant for his arrest was issued by the international police organisation Interpol in November 2007.
   
Argentine federal prosecutor Alberto Nisman said: "His nomination is very serious, given that Vahidi is a person who -- as former head of Al-Quds -- is deeply implicated with this attack."
   
Western security services say that the Al-Quds Brigades are a covert operations branch of Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards Corps. Iran has never acknowledged the force's existence.
   
The 1994 bombing was the second massive anti-Jewish attack in Buenos Aires that decade. In 1992, the Israeli embassy was also levelled in a bombing that killed 22 people and wounded 200.
   
Argentina has the largest Jewish community in the Americas outside the United States.
   

Date created : 2009-08-21

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