A federal judge in Argentina has requested that Russia extradite an Iranian official suspected of involvement in the 1994 bombing of the AMIA headquarters in downtown Buenos Aires.
Judge Rodolfo Canicoba Corral made an extradition request to Russia following the publication of a photo of Russia President Vladimir Putin in Moscow with Ali Akbar Velayati, Iran’s former Foreign Affairs Minister and a current top adviser in that same ministry. The photo was published by Russia’s state-run news outlet Raptly.
Velayati was Iran’s Foreign Affairs minister from 1981 to 1997 and is believed to have attended a meeting of the country’s Supreme Security Council on August 14, 1993 in which the attack was agreed upon.
Iran’s government denies Velayati played a role in the bombing. He was indicted for homicide on the grounds of racial and religious hatred.
An arrest warrant against him has been in effect since 2006. However, the Iranian official has never been arrested outside of Iran because he is not one of the five men listed on Interpol’s red notice list.
Judge Canicoba Corral last requested Velayati’s extradition with authorities in Singapore and Malaysia, when the Iranian official visited those countries in July last year.
The 1994 bombing of the Argentinean-Israeli Mutual Association (AMIA) Jewish community centre in Buenos Aires killed 85 people, with hundreds more injured. The case has moved forward only in fits and starts in Argentina's judiciary and has been frustrated by Iran’s refusal to cooperate.