Iran’s parliament Sept. 3 approved President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s choice for the new defense minister, Ahmad Vahidi—wanted in Argentina in the bombing of a Buenos Aires Jewish center that killed 85 people and wounded some 300 more 15 years ago. Vahidi, who led an elite unit of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards known as the Quds Force at the time of the attack, is accused of “being a key participant in the planning, and of having made the decision to go ahead with the attack.” Interpol issued a warrant for him in 2007. Israel and Argentina have condemned his promotion to the Iranian cabinet as an affront to the victims.
A van loaded with fertilizer and explosives obliterated the seven-storey Argentina-Israelite Mutual Association (AMIA) center in July 1994—the deadliest attack on a Jewish target outside Israel since World War II. No one has been convicted, but Argentina has repeatedly made clear that it blames Islamic militants backed by Iran, including Hezbollah members. Iran and Hezbollah dismiss the charge. (Reuters, The Guardian, Sept. 3)