Argentina Ambassador to Israel Faces Reprimand Over 'Truth Commission' With Iran

Two countries set up commission to investigate 1994 bombing of Jewish center in Buenos Aires; Deputy FM Ayalon: Inviting Tehran is like inviting the murderer to a murder investigation.

The Argentinean ambassador to Israel is to be summoned to the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem for an official reprimand over his country's decision to establish a joint "truth commission" with Iran to investigate the 1994 terror bombing of a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires, which killed 85 people and injured more than 300 others. Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon made the announcement on Monday.

The ministry also instructed Israel's Ambassador to Argentina, Dorit Shavit to request an urgent meeting with Argentinean Foreign Minister Hector Timerman in order to register Israel’s vehement protest and to demand an explanation about the commission.

In 2006, after years of foot-dragging, Argentinean prosecutors charged Iran and Hezbollah over the car bombing of the Israeli-Argentine Mutual Association building, but the case was not pursued. Most of the victims in the attack were Jewish.

"Argentina's move did more than to evoke shock and concern in Israel,” Ayalon told Haaretz on Monday. “It is clear to all that the Iranians and their Hezbollah minions were involved in the attack," Ayalon said, adding that holding a joint investigation of the incident with Tehran was "like inviting the murderer to participate in the murder investigation. This agreement confers legitimacy on the terrorist government in Iran.”

Ayalon added that he is attending the Munich Security Conference this weekend, where he planned to discuss the issue with various world figures.

Argentinean President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner announced on Sunday the agreement to create a joint commission. It is to include international jurists, chosen by representatives from both Argentina and Iran. Jurists from either country will be excluded.

Commission members are to be given free access to all of the figures mentioned in all past investigations of the bombing carried out in both Argentina and Iran.

Israel first heard about the negotiations between Argentina and Iran over establishing the commission in October. Despite repeated requests, Buenos Aires did not brief Jerusalem on the progress of the talks. In meetings with representatives of Argentina's Jewish community in recent weeks Timerman, who is Jewish, declined to give details about the talks.

AP