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Argentina seeks extradition of Iran ex-minister

by October 22, 2016 General

October 22, 2016, 3:00 am TWN

BUENOS AIRES — Argentina issued another extradition warrant Thursday for an Iranian ex-foreign minister over the deadly bombing of a Jewish center in Buenos Aires in 1994, the government said.

Investigating Judge Rodolfo Canicoba asked Baghdad to extradite Ali Akbar Velayati, who is on the Interpol wanted list, since he is currently on Iraqi soil.

He asked Iraq to arrest Velayati “in order to extradite him, after learning via the international press that the accused travelled to Baghdad” on Wednesday, the Argentine justice ministry said in a statement.

In July Argentina issued a similar warrant to Singapore and Malaysia after learning Velayati was on a lecture tour to those countries.

Argentine investigators accuse Velayati and four other Iranian former officials, including ex-president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, of orchestrating the July 18, 1994 car bombing at the Argentine Jewish Mutual Association in Buenos Aires.

The Iranians allegedly ordered the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah to carry out the bombing, the deadliest terror attack in the South American country’s history.

Iran, which denies involvement, has repeatedly rejected Argentine demands for the accused to testify.

Velayati rejected the accusations as a lie in an interview last year with Argentine television channel C5N.

The attack remains politically explosive in Argentina.

The lead prosecutor in the case, Alberto Nisman, was found dead last year in mysterious circumstances four days after accusing then-president Cristina Kirchner of conspiring with Iran to shield suspects from prosecution.

The case against Kirchner has since been thrown out for lack of evidence.