Former Argentinian President Defends Secret Agreement with Iran in Terror Probe

On Thursday, former Argentine President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner appeared in federal court and denied that the purpose of the secret pact with Iran was to cover-up Tehran’s involvement in the 1994 AMIA Jewish community center that killed 85 people.

Argentina and Iran signed a memorandum of understanding in 2013 for a joint investigation of the AMIA bombing. The full name was Memorandum of understanding between the Government of Argentina and the Government of Islamic Republic of Iran on the issues related to the terrorist attack against AMIA headquarter in Buenos Aires on July 18, 1994.

Kirchner “struck a defiant pose” in court and defended the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that was secretly negotiated with Iran in 2011, Ben Cohen from The Algemeiner reported.
The former president was the last one to appear on the federal court responding to allegations of Alberto Nisman, the Argentine prosecutor who was found dead in his Buenos Aires apartment in January of 2015, the day before he was due to testify in a closed session of Congress. Nisman accused Kirchner and former foreign minister Hector Timerman, along with others in Kirchner’s administration of covering up Iran’s role in the bombing through the MoU with Tehran.

The AMIA bombing was a terrorist attack on the Asociación Mutual Israelita Argentina, a large Jewish Community Center in Buenos Aires, which took place on July 18, 1994. The legal case is still open. The prosecutor Alberto Nisman accused Iran in 2006 of directing the attack, and the Hezbollah militia of carrying it out.

As part of her twelve page written statement, Kirchner indicated that the pact with Tehran was endorsed by Congress but chose to omit that in 2014 a federal court ruled it unconstitutional. Shortly after his election in 2015, President Mauricio Macri withdrew the previous government’s appeal of the court’s ruling and voided the MoU.
In her written testimony, Kirchner defended herself by claiming that the MoU was a “diplomatic” solution to bring Tehran to the negotiating table and move forward with the case.
Clarin, a major Argentinian newspaper, reported (Spanish link) that Kirchner denied accusations and as she said that suggesting that her administration used the MoU to cover-up the terror attack was “absurd.”
While she was in court, Kirchner abstained (Spanish link) from exchanging any pleasantries with the federal judge handling the case, Judge Claudio Bonadio, and verbally attacked him as she blamed him for previously “paralyzing” the AMIA investigation for five years. “I don’t expect justice from you,” Kirchner added, referring to Bonadio.
Kirchner is also accused of treason, but she rebutted that claim by saying that the only case of treason was the use of “the judiciary as a means to oppress opponents,” referring to President Mauricio Macri’s government. She also told reporters that Macri has “politically manipulated” the judge handling the case.
While in court, Kirchner chose not to answer questions, and only present her written statement.
Prosecutors in Argentina are also investigating (Spanish link) Carlos Menem, who served as president from 1989-1999 and is among the defendants being charged with misleading the original investigation. The original investigation led by Judge Juan Jose Galeano in 2004 failed. Galeano is also accused of hampering the investigation.
Both former presidents have immunity after they won Senate seats in the midterm elections this past Sunday. Although Senators are granted immunity, this week, a judge stripped immunity privileges from a former minister in Kirchner’s administration due to corruption charges.
Over the past week, several of Kirchner’s ministers, aides, and confidantes were in court testifying in the terror cover-up probe. Hector Timerman, the former foreign minister has been accused of finalizing the secret pact with Iran with a secret meeting in Syria facilitated by President Bashar al-Assad.
In one of the most explosive testimonies last week, former intelligence agent and spy Ramon Bogado indicated (Spanish link) that the secret pact with Tehran involved the transfer of nuclear expertise and technology from Argentina to Iran vis-à-vis Venezuela. Bogado further indicated that former Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez was critical in influencing Kirchner sign the agreement with the Islamic Republic.