Israel mulls cancelling Argentina FM visit over reported Iran talks
Comment comes in wake of a report claiming that Argentina willing to 'forget' a series of bombings targeting Jewish landmarks in exchange for improved trade ties with Tehran.
The Foreign Ministry is considering cancelling an upcoming visit by the Argentinean foreign minister over a report that Argentina offered Iran to 'forget' the 1992 and 1994 bombings of an Israeli embassy and a Jewish community center in exchange for improved trade ties.
According to the Argentine weekly Perfil, which broke the story on Saturday, Foreign Minister Hector Timerman is personally involved in the talks. The Argentinean Foreign Ministry has so far declined comment.
Speaking later Sunday, Foreign Ministry officials said they could consider postponing Timerman's visit, planned for next week, if the reports concerning the offer to Iran would turn out to be reliable.
"If the reports prove to be true, that would constitute a grave move by the Argentinean administration, one to which we would have to respond appropriately," the officials said.
Since none of the information reported by Perfil has been so far verified, all Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor could say was that Israel was awaiting "official clarifications by the Argentinean Foreign Ministry concerning the article."
For his report, the veteran investigative reporter Pepe Eliaschev relied on a classified document that indicated the Argentinean government "would be ready to freeze the investigations of terrorist bombings attributed to Iran in 1992 and 1994, in exchange for renewing and improving trade relations between the countries, which at their height reached $1.2 billion a year."
According to the article, Timerman made the offer via Syrian President Bashar Asad and Foreign Minister, Walid Moallem, who were brought in as mediators.
The three met in Syria on January 23, and the details of the conversation were conveyed to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Timerman, Argentina's first Jewish foreign minister, addressed the annual commemoration on March 17 of the embassy bombing.
"I stand here as a representative of the Argentinean government, determined to do justice in this matter," Timerman told the crowd.
He also reminded his audience that in her speech to the UN General Assembly in September, President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner called on Tehran to agree to allow Iranian citizens accused of involvement in the attack to be brought to justice in a third country.
In the 1992 embassy bombing, 29 people were killed and 242 were injured. In the bombing at the AMIA Jewish community center, two years later, 85 people were killed and more than 300 were injured.