Commentary Magazine


Buenos Aires Bombing Remembered

Today marks the 18th anniversary of the terrorist bombing of the Argentine Israelite Mutual Association in Buenos Aires, an attack that killed 85 and seriously injured hundreds. The attack was planned and executed by the Islamic Republic of Iran. Its mastermind, Ahmad Vahidi, is now Iran’s defense minister. Argentine authorities ultimately convicted several Iranians and Hezbollah activists in absentia for their roles; Interpol currently has a red notice out for Vahidi. Ahmad Rezai, the son of then-Islamic Revolution Guard Corps Chief Mohsen Rezai, later fingered his father’s role in the affair, and acknowledges that he was an eyewitness to the operation’s planning; Ahmad died under mysterious circumstances in Dubai late last year.

Almost two decades on, it is important to remember three things:

  • While Iran’s apologists say that Tehran’s problem with Israel is political, and isn’t motivated by religious hatred, the bombing in Buenos Aires targeted not the Israel embassy (which Iran had bombed two years earlier) but rather the Jewish cultural center. The target was not political; it was religious.
  • No Iranian authority, be they hardliner or reformer, has ever apologized for Iran’s role in hostage-taking or terrorism. That Kofi Annan and Jimmy Carter embrace former Iranian President Mohammad Khatami as a genuine believer in Dialogue of Civilizations is shameful. Khatami is, to this day, an apologist for terrorism.
  • Iran remains a terror sponsor of global reach; no amount of dialogue during the past two decades has changed that. Perhaps the problem isn’t a regime grievance, but the regime itself.