David Frum

02.08.13

Argentina Doesn't Want the Truth

This past January, Iran and Argentina formed a "Truth Commission" in order to investigate a 1994 bombing of the Argentine Israelite Mutual Association in Buenos Aires. The attack killed 85 and injured 151.

While there was a large amount of evidence that pointed to Iranian involvement, authorities in Iran would not cooperate with Argentina. Their lack of cooperation, however, didn't stop INTERPOL from issuing arrest warrants:

In spite of the loss of key evidence in the immediate aftermath of the bombing, the new investigation was persuasive enough to convince INTERPOL in 2007 to issue international arrest warrants for six individuals. These included Ahmad Vahidi, the current Minister of Defense; Ali Fallahian, former Minister of Information; and Mohsen Rezai, former commander of the Revolutionary Guards and a candidate in the 2009 presidential election. 

This new commission seems explicitly designed to muffle any real justice:

The January agreement is a victory for Iran. In return for a formal initiative it can use to undermine the Argentine court's judgment, Iran will provide unspecified documents and allow a single interrogation session with the officials wanted by Interpol. On January 29, an optimistic Islamic Republic News Agency pointed to "radical Zionist groups" as the accused in the AMIA bombing; noted that the judiciary in Argentina is "not very clean"; and suggested that experts may declare evidence incriminating Iran to be invalid.

Iran's behavior makes sense. But why is Argentina so cooperative?

But our purpose here is not to understand the strategic advantages or the heavy investments that have strengthened Iran's presence in Latin America. For many of us who believe in the rights of victims to truth and justice, it is the lack of interest of Latin American democracies in Iran's abysmal human rights record that is concerning and disheartening.