Arrests, accusations and a cornered CFK revive Nisman-AMIA debate
A new recording, a press conference, a rare interview: After a federal judge ordered the arrest of former government officials, the debate surrounding the painful Nisman-AMIA affair reignites old tensions.
As has long been the case, the unsolved death of special prosecutor Alberto Nisman and the 1994 AMIA bombing cover-up that he was investigating continue to raise more questions than answers. And the debate surrounding both controversies has heated up once again this following federal judge Claudio Bonadio's decision on Friday to issue arrest warrants against former officials and allies of the 2011-2015 Cristina Fernández de Kirchner administration.
In a 2011 voice recording published yesterday in Perfil.com, Nisman can be heard dismissing the same accusations he made against Fernández de Kirchner in 2015 for collusion with the Iranian government for “immunity in exchange for trade”.
“The facts that the article presents are absurd, wild and unenforceable. It’s been a while since I’ve read something as crazy as this”, he said in reference to the 2011 Perfil investigation that revealed secret talks between Argentina and Iran over the AMIA bombing investigation.
“The Iranians aren’t credible in anything they say or do but I’m not surprised they would try to suggest something like this. They think everything is done like in their theocracy where the spiritual leader says something and everybody else obeys”, Nisman said in the recording, downplaying the suggestion that the former national government had the power to offer a way out for the five Iranian officials accused of involvement in the bombing.
“I’ve already explained that Argentina doesn’t operate that way,” he said.
A WAY OUT
Prior to his death in January 2015, Nisman alleged that the government had offered impunity for Iranian officials (Moshen Rezai, Ali Fallahian, Ahmad Vahidi, Moshen Rabbani y Ahmad Asghari) in exchange for trade deals. He cited the Memorandum of Understanding signed in 2013 with Iran as an evidence of his allegations. The deal was approved by Congress in the same year but later declared unconstitutional by a federal court in 2014.
On Friday, federal judge Claudio Bonadio filed arrest warrants for members of the 2011-2015 Fernández de Kirchner government and a request to strip the former president of her immunity from prosecution on accusations of treason. (In fact, if it were not for her seat in the Senate, Fernández de Kirchner would likely be in jail too.) According to judicial sources, in his ruling Bonadio reasoned that the former president may use her contacts to “obstruct the case.”
TIMERMAN: 'THE ESTABLISHMENT IS PUNISHING US’
Former Foreign Affairs minister Héctor Timerman, who has home detention due to health problems, told Página 12 on Sunday that he and former government officials were being punished by the global political establishment for their audacity in trying to resolve the AMIA bombing case after 20 years of dead-ends.
“The United States, Germany, France, the United Kingdom, China and Russia have signed deals with Iran… But nobody says that the man who signed a deal with Iran, Barack Obama, is a traitor,” he complained.
Timerman has long denied accusations he had requested that Interpol remove red alerts on the five Iranian officials accused of involvement in the bombing.
Former General Secretary of Interpol Ronald Noble reiterated the same via Twitter on Tuesday describing the accusations as “false” and “incomplete”.
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.
Nisman, the special prosecutor investigating the case, was found dead of a gunshot wound to his head in his apartment in 2015, days after he made the claims against the former president and a matter of hours before he was due to present his claims before Congress. Experts concluded last month that his death had been the work of two individuals and was not a suicide.