Iran Minister: My Appointment Is a 'Blow' to Israel Propaganda

Tehran urges U.S. to respect Ahmad Vahidi, accused of involvement in Argentina Jewish center blast.

Newly appointed Iranian Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi on Sunday said that the strong support he received in parliament was a decisive blow against Israeli propaganda and psychological warfare against Iran, Fars news agency reported.

Tehran on Sunday called on the United States to "respect" the appointment of Vahidi, Mehr news agency reported.

The U.S. had criticized Vahidi's appointment due his alleged involvement in the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center in Argentina, which killed 85 people.

"We recommend that the U.S. government respect the will of the Iranian nation and regret the stance taken by Washington in this regard," Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hassan Ghashghavi said.

Israel had also condemned the move, saying the nomination of Vahidi revealed the "true nature" of the Iranian regime.

Earlier this week, the Iranian parliament enthusiastically endorsed Vahidi, mainly as a response to what MPs called "Zionist propaganda" against him.

The spokesman said that accusations against Vahidi and other Iranian officials in the 1994 bombing had not been proven by the Argentine judiciary in the last 15 years.

"The U.S. should not fall into the trap of world Zionism which itself is the frontrunner of governmental terrorism, and correct their approach [toward Iran]," Ghashghavi added.

Tehran has rejected the charges against Vahidi and condemned Argentina for what it called "blatant interference" in Iran's internal affairs and accused the Argentine judiciary of being under pressure from the "Zionist lobby."

Fars news agency reported that visiting Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is to meet Vahidi during his state visit to Tehran.