May 3, 2011
The 1992 and 1994 bombings of the Israeli Embassy and the Jewish Community Center (AMIA) killing over 100 people in Buenos Aires remain fresh in the minds of Argentineans. This has been true in part because those responsible for the terrorist acts—including a few Iranian government officials—have not yet been brought to justice and the Jewish community, publicly supported by the current and previous Kirchner administrations, has relentlessly sought closure.
More recently, however, there was a media stir instigated by a controversial Perfil news article on March 26 that accused Argentine Foreign Minister Hector Timerman of brokering a secret deal with the Iranians to set aside the embassy and AMIA investigations in favor of increased commercial ties with Iran. Mr. Timerman did not outright deny the accusation, which ruffled feathers at home and in Israel where he was scheduled to visit a few weeks later. Tactful diplomacy and indirect denials during his official visit to Israel in early April helped smooth relations. Moreover, the newspaper did not provide evidence to back its claim and the issue has been publicly dropped. Nonetheless, the recent controversy calls into question the authenticity of the Argentinean government’s public displays of support for the AMIA cause as it more quietly seeks closeness with Iran.