Ian Deitch
The Associated Press
March 27, 2011 - 12:00am

Israel wants clarifications from Argentina over a report it offered Iran a deal: It would stop investigating bombings on Jewish centers there in the 1990s in exchange for better trade ties, an Israeli foreign ministry official said Sunday.

The Argentine paper Perfil quoted a leaked Iranian cable on Saturday detailing the offer.

Eighty-five people were killed and 200 were injured when a bomb exploded in a van outside the Argentine Israeli Mutual Association on July 18, 1994 — that country's bloodiest terrorist attack.

The center, a symbol for Argentina's Jewish population of more than 200,000, was destroyed two years after a bomb flattened the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires, killing 29 people.

Argentine officials claim that Iran orchestrated the attacks and that the Iranian-backed Hezbollah group carried it out. The United States and Israel also say Iran was behind the bombings, but Iran has denied it.

Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said Sunday he is waiting for official Argentine comment. "If this is true, then it would be a display of infinite cynicism and a dishonor to the dead." he said.

Israeli media reported that Israel was considering postponing an visit by Argentine Foreign Minister Hector Timerman until clarifications are made.

The Argentine Foreign Ministry has not commented.

The paper quoted a report sent by Iran's Foreign Relations Minister Ali Akbar Salehi to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that said, "Argentina is no longer interested in solving those two attacks, but in exchange prefers improving its economic relations with Iran."

According to the article, Timerman made the offer via Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem in a meeting in the Syrian city of Aleppo in January.

The details of that conversation were later conveyed to Ahmadinejad by his foreign minister, the paper said.

The paper did not say how it obtained the leaked cables.


American Task Force on Palestine - 1634 Eye St. NW, Suite 725, Washington DC 20006 - Telephone: 202-262-0017