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Middle east

Tehran slams Argentina for 'meddling' in its internal affairs

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2009-08-24

Tehran slammed Argentina for criticising the nomination of Ahmad Vahidi as Iran's defence minister. Vahidi is wanted for the 1994 bombing of a Jewish centre in Buenos Aires in which 95 people died.

AFP - Iran on Sunday accused Argentina of meddling in its domestic affairs after the south American country expressed outrage at the nomination of a man wanted for a 1994 bombing to be the next defence minister.

"The positions taken by Argentine officials obviously amount to meddling in the domestic affairs of the Islamic Republic and we strongly condemn these illegal actions," Iran's official IRNA news agency quoted foreign ministry spokesman Hassan Ghashghavi as saying.

On Friday, Argentina strongly criticised Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's decision to put forward Ahmad Vahidi as defence minister in his new 21-member cabinet.

Vahidi is wanted by Argentina in connection with a 1994 bombing in Buenos Aires which levelled the seven-floor Argentine Jewish Mutual Association building, killing 85 people and wounded 300.

It was the worst terrorist attack in Argentina, which has the largest Jewish community in the Americas outside the United States, and the second large-scale anti-Jewish strike in Buenos Aires that decade.

In 2007, Interpol issued what it calls a Red Notice on Vahidi, a former head of Al Qods, an elite unit of Iran's Revolutionary Guards Corps. Under the notice, Interpol distributed Argentina's arrest warrant for Vahidi to member countries.

Ghashghavi said Argentina's stand against Vahidi was a result of "pressure, bribes and propoganda by Zionist lobbies."

"It is an insult to the intelligence of the people of Argentina."

Argentina's condemnation has cast further doubt on Ahmadinejad's cabinet nominations, some of which face stiff opposition from Iranian lawmakers.

Argentine prosecutors allege Iran masterminded the bombing in Buenos Aires and entrusted the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah to execute it.

In November 2006, Argentine prosecutors issued arrest warrants against several Iranians, including former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and former foreign minister Ali Akbar Velayati.

But Interpol's executive committee later withdrew warrants against Rafsanjani, Velayati and another Iranian.

Iranian lawmakers are set to vote on Ahmadinejad's cabinet line-up over a three-day period starting August 30.
 

Date created : 2009-08-23

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