Argentine prosecutors on Wednesday asked a federal judge to order the arrest of former Iranian president Hashemi Rafsanjani and seven others for the 1994 bombing of a Jewish cultural center that killed scores of people.
Prosecutor Alberto Nisman told a news conference that the decision to attack the center "was undertaken in 1993 by the highest authorities of the then-government of Iran."
He said the actual attack was entrusted to the Lebanon-based group Hezbollah.
The bombing of the Jewish cultural center was the worst terrorist attack on Argentine soil. Eighty-five people were killed and more than 200 others injured when an explosive-laden vehicle was driven near the building and detonated.
Iran's government has vehemently denied any involvement in the bombing, following repeated accusations by Jewish community leaders and others here. Iranian authorities in Buenos Aires declined to comment.
Prosecutors urged the judge to seek international and national arrest orders for Rafsanjani, who was Iran's president from 1989 to 1997. They also asked the judge to detain former intelligence chief Ali Fallahijan and former foreign minister Ali Akbar Velayati.
In addition, they urged the arrest of two former commanders of Iran's Revolutionary Guards, two former Iranian diplomats and a former Hezbollah security chief.
I don't have any data on it, but I imagine its spectacularly rare for a country to make such a bold move unless it has really strong evidence on the matter. Notions of international propriety and sovereignty generally preclude putting out an arrest warrant on another nation's leaders. Argentina clearly feels like it has enough data on the matter so it's willing to take the diplomatic hit.
Rafsanjani is apparently considered a moderate in Iranian politics, which just goes to show you what passes for moderation in the Tehran regime today.
Meanwhile, Modernity Blog reminds me to ask for comments from the "We Are All Hezbollah Now" protest wing.
Lest we get too excited, the proceeding judge does not have to act on this recommendation immediately, or indeed, under any time limitation. And since the suspects are not in Argentina, the call is for an international arrest warrant, which would require foreign compliance. This obviously will not be forthcoming. So I don't expect any actual trial to go forward. But hopefully this will be another data point in showing that the Iranian government is not anti-Zionist, but anti-Semitic.