Did Argentina’s President Take Bribes To Hide Iran’s Involvement in 1994 Bombing at Jewish Center?

A new documentary treating the mysterious death of the prosecutor exploring Iran’s involvement in the 1994 bombing of a Jewish cultural center in Argentina states that the President of Argentina took a bribe of $800,000 to hide Iranian involvement in the attack.  The documentary is called “Los Abandonados,” or “The Abandoned.”  The prosecutor, Alberto Nisman, became subject to an Iranian fatwa ordering his death after he announced that his investigation had determined that Iran was responsible for the attack that killed 85.  He was found dead right before he was due to testify on the matter before his nation’s legislature, and just days after filing a charge against President Kirchner.  The week after his death, President Kirchner dissolved his agency entirely.

Nisman’s death was highly suspicious.  He was killed by a .22 caliber round fired by a single shot pistol that was found by his body.  In case it had been a suicide his hands were tested for powder residue, and there was none.  The pistol proved to be completely clean of fingerprints, although he was not wearing gloves.  The weapon was owned by one of his employees, perhaps the last person to see him alive, who had no explanation for why the pistol would be without fingerprints.  There was no evidence that Nisman was feeling suicidal, and in fact he had been expressive of self-confidence as he brought the case before the world.  He had also written a grocery list, which was found near his body.

The documentary paints a portrait of a brave investigator on the hunt for ruthless killers, tireless in spite of the corruption of his own government.  President Kirchner was swayed to accept the bribe, the film states, by her allegiance to Hugo Chavez of nearby Venezuela.

Fernández de Kirchner is said to have been influenced by Chavez to divert the AMIA investigation away from the Iranians. One interviewee in the film quoted a Venezuelan intelligence officer who claimed that Iran had made a payment, through the Venezuelan regime, of $800,000 towards Fernández de Kirchner’s presidential campaign. Under Chavez and his successor, Nicolas Maduro, Venezuela has emerged as Iran’s chief ally in Latin America.

The film painstakingly traces the evolution of the AMIA investigation from that fateful day in 1994, pointing out that the focus on Iran was pushed heavily by both Nestor Kirchner and Jaime Stiuso, the former Argentine intelligence chief who became a key ally for Nisman in his investigation. Many of those interviewed in the film described Nisman as a brave and persistent investigator who did not cease his efforts even after Iran issued a fatwa – effectively a death warrant – against him in 2007.

The 1994 bombing was carried out in a manner very similar to other Iranian-backed terror attacks carried out by Hezbollah.  Similar car-bomb attacks destroyed several Western targets in Beruit during the 1980s, including the US Marine Corps barracks.  More recently, the Khobar Towers bombing against American servicemembers was carried out in the same way by a branch of Hezbollah local to Saudi Arabia.  IranTruth carried an article by Fred Fleitz on the bombing on July 18th of this year, the attack’s anniversary.

Argentina entered into an unconstitutional memorandum of understanding with Iran that would have allowed Iran to sit on the hearing determining whether or not it was involved in the attack.  This memorandum was thrown out by Argentina’s supreme court.  This year, the Argentine government took out a full page ad in national newspapers to denounce the late Alberto Nisman for attempting to destabilize the country, while asserting that Argentina should improve relations with Iran. President Kirchner has also this year accused Israel of being behind the bombing of its own embassy in her country.  Israel rejected the accusation immediately.

Los Abandonados is available to view online.