Argentina’s Foreign Ministry has asked the Qatari government to arrest visiting Iranian Vice-President Mohsen Rezai, citing allegations against him related to the 1994 bombing of the AMIA Jewish community centre.
The presentation relates to a request filed by the prosecutor in the case, Sebastián Basso, and included a request that Interpol red alerts related to the case be retained in force.
According to the Télam state news agency, the head of the AMIA Prosecution Unit (UFI-AMIA) requested that "the appropriate diplomatic and foreign policy mechanisms be activated to comply with the court order for the arrest of Mohsen Rezai (issued by the then judge in the case Rodolfo Canicoba Corral on November 9, 2006), who is the subject of a red alert issued by Interpol for his alleged involvement in the AMIA bombing and who, according to various websites, has travelled to the State of Qatar.”
Rezai, Iran's vice-president for economic affairs, is accused of being one of the “masterminds” behind the 1994 terrorist bombing, in which 85 people were killed and more than 300 were injured.
A diplomatic source said the Foreign Ministry in Buenos Aires had granted the special prosecutor's request after confirming Rezai's presence in the Gulf country.
The ministry "requested the collaboration of Interpol for the arrest," while Foreign Minister Santiago Cafiero "instructed the Argentine ambassador in Doha... to communicate urgently with the Qatari Foreign Ministry and report on the situation," the diplomatic source told the AFP news agency.
According to reports, Rezai arrived in Doha on Sunday, where he was met and received by the Deputy Foreign Minister of Qatar and the Iranian Ambassador to that country.
Government sources confirmed that Foreign Minister Santiago Cafiero had instructed Argentina’s ambassador in Doha, Guillermo Nicolás, to contact the country's Foreign Ministry to request the arrest of Rezai, who has an Interpol red alert notice out on his name.
In January, Rezai was in Nicaragua for the inauguration of Sandinista Daniel Ortega and Argentina’s foreign service issued a similar request. It also condemned the Iranian’s appointment as vice-president last year.
The government of President Alberto Fernández said at the time that the appointment constituted "an affront to Argentine justice and to the victims of the brutal terrorist attack against the AMIA."
Rezai, who was commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps at the time of the attack, is part of a group of high-ranking Iranian officials accused by Argentina of masterminding the attack on the Jewish center.
In 1992, the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires had been the target of another attack that left 29 dead and 200 wounded, and for which no-one has ever been held accountable.
Argentina has the largest Jewish community in Latin America, with some 300,000 members.