Iranian accused in 1994 Argentina bombing steps into debate
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) — An Iranian accused of involvement in the deadly 1994 bombing of a Jewish center in Argentina has added to speculation over the mysterious death of a prosecutor who investigated the attack.
The comments by Moshen Rabbani in an interview with Argentine Radio 10 on Friday were unlikely to clear up the circumstances surrounding the 2015 shooting death of Alberto Nisman, But they fed renewed fascination with a case that was scrutinized in a recently released Netflix documentary.
Rabbani’s remarks also come at a time of heightened tension between Iran and the United States following the U.S. drone strike that killed Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani.
The statements drew swift criticism. Ariel Eichbaum, head of the AMIA Jewish center that was bombed, told local media that Rabbani should turn himself over for trial “if he has information,” instead of giving opinions on the radio.
The matter remains especially important for Argentina because Cristina Fernández, who as president had a contentious relationship with the United States and had been accused by Nisman of protecting Iranians allegedly involved in the bombing, returned to power as vice president last month. Fernández denied that she and others conspired to lift Interpol’s red alerts against several Iranians accused of bombing the Jewish center, where 85 people died.
Speaking from Iran, Rabbani said, as he has in the past, that he did not orchestrate the bombing while working as cultural attache for the Iranian embassy in Buenos Aires. He also commented about the Nisman case for the first time, though he didn’t offer any proof for his conspiracy theories about the prosecutor’s death.
At first, Rabbani suggested that Nisman was murdered because he didn’t have evidence to support his allegations about Fernández and Iranian involvement in the bombing. Then he speculated that Nisman might have been pressured by others to kill himself for the same reason.
“Who killed Nisman? Why don’t they let people in Argentina know the truth?” said Rabbani, whose remarks only seemed to fuel the swirl of conjecture about what happened.
Nisman had alleged that Fernández’s government may have negotiated impunity for the Iranian suspects with Tehran in exchange for resuming trade relations. On Jan. 18, 2015 - the day before he was to appear before Congress to discuss his shocking accusations - Nisman was found in the bathroom of his apartment with a gunshot wound to his head and a 22-caliber weapon at his side.
Argentines debated whether Nisman was murdered or took his own life. Many started this year glued to their screens for the release of the Netflix series: “Nisman: The Prosecutor, the President and the Spy.”