An announcement from the Iranian Foreign Ministry on Saturday is fueling speculation that Tehran is seeking a rapprochement with Argentina. The statement indicated that Iran is ready to discuss the deadly bombings of the Israeli Embassy and the Jewish Community Center in Buenos Aires in the early 1990s. Hezbollah and its Iranian ally were responsible for those crimes which together took the lives of more than 100 persons. Current Iranian Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi is believed to be the person who planned the bombings.
Iran formally requested Argentina drop the investigation into the bombings in March. While efforts to bring the guilty to justice continue, the history of that investigation has been one of delays and political maneuverings inside Argentina that have frustrated the cause of justice. According to an Argentine tabloid that reported the Iranian overture, the South American nation is far more interested in normalizing relations with Tehran than with prosecuting those involved in the bombings.
While the Argentines deny they will drop their investigation, the suspicion lingers they would prefer to do business with Iran than prosecute terrorists. Iran already has a foothold in South America in Venezuela where the Chavez regime considers them allies in an anti-American coalition. This illustrates the difficulties in the Obama administration’s efforts to isolate Iran in order to halt its march toward nuclear capability. If even a country that was victimized by Iranian terror is prepared to do business with it, what chance does diplomacy have in persuading others to embargo Iran?
We hope Iran’s Argentina gambit will fail. But the Argentines need to understand if they choose to join Chavez in playing ball with Iran, there will be consequences in terms of their relationship with the United States.