Monday, March 4, 2024

ARGENTINA | 19-01-2022 17:02

Argentina, United States ask OAS to discuss Interpol red alerts with member states

Request comes less than 24 hours after Foreign Minister Santiago Cafiero met with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and less than a week after Iranian official and AMIA suspect Mohsen Rezai visited Nicaragua.

Argentina and the United States have asked the Organisation of American States to reactivate red alerts in all its member states in the Americas so that Interpol can take action against the six Iranians accused of the AMIA bombing. 

The request, issued a day after Foreign Minister Santiago Cafiero met with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Washington DC, will be put to the rest of the OAS member states, according to a report by the Clarín daily.

According to the newspaper, Argentina’s permanent mission to the OAS has requested the item be included for discussion on the agenda of the body’s next meeting of its permanent council on January 19, 2022.

The US State Department said Wednesday that both states expressed “serious concern” about the recent visit to Nicaragua by Iranian official Mohsen Rezai, who faces an international arrest warrant related to his alleged role in the deadly 1994 bombing attack on the AMIA Jewish community centre in Buenos Aires.

The Iranian official stands accused of being one of the intellectual authors of the attack. At the time, he was serving as a commander in the Iranian Revolutionary Guards.

Rezai, in his role as the Islamic Republic's vice-president for economic affairs, led the Iranian delegation to the January 10 inauguration of Daniel Ortega. The Nicaragua leader began a fourth consecutive term in office while under new sanctions from the United States and the European Union, which consider his reelection to have been a "farce" after multiple opposition candidates were jailed in the run-up to the vote.

During Tuesday’s meeting in Washington, Blinken and Cafiero "expressed serious concern about Rezai's recent visit to Nicaragua," said US State Department Spokesperson Ned Price.

Blinken's spokesman noted that Rezai, a former commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, "is the subject of an Interpol Red Notice for aggravated murder and damages in connection with the 1994 bombing of the Israeli-Argentine Mutual Association (AMIA) that killed 85 people in Buenos Aires."

The secretary of state and the Argentine foreign minister "discussed cooperation in efforts to bring to justice those suspected of complicity in the attack," Price said in a statement following the bilateral meeting.

Argentina’s Foreign Ministry did not mention the issue in a statement issued after the meeting, but a senior government official told reporters in Washington that it was the Argentine delegation that raised the issue during the meeting, pointing to the need for international cooperation to carry out Interpol's red alert procedures. 

"We asked the United States to help us with this dynamic," said the source, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The official said Argentina wants to "take an initiative" in the Organisation of American States (OAS) to "put the issue back on the agenda."

Argentina condemned Rezai's presence in Managua on 11 January as "an affront to Argentine justice and to the victims of the brutal terrorist attack on the AMIA", which remains unpunished. 

President Alberto Fernández's government had already repudiated Rezai's appointment to his post last August, among other appointments of people accused by the Argentine justice system in the Tehran government, including Interior Minister Ahmad Vahidi.

Ambassador to Nicaragua Daniel Capitanich was Argentina's sole representative at the inauguration of Ortega and his wife and vice-president, Rosario Murillo, which was not attended by any US delegates.

US Assistant Secretary of State for the Americas Brian Nichols, who was seated next to Blinken at the meeting with Cafiero, tweeted on Friday that "the hemisphere cannot look the other way while Ortega-Murillo undermine democracy and regional security."

Iran announced last week that it will support the Ortega government in the face of the "threats" it faces from the United States.




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