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Jewish Center Bombing Casts Shadow Over Argentine Politics 23 Years On

(AFP and combined sources) In 1994, a bomb blast destroyed the headquarters of the Argentine Israelite Mutual Association (AMIA) in Buenos Aires, killing 85 people and wounding 300. On Thursday, a prosecuting magistrate ordered the arrest of former president Cristina Kirchner and called on the Senate to begin procedures to strip her of parliamentary immunity.

The investigation comprises several parallel cases that have dragged on for years and involve two former presidents. Carlos Menem, who was president from 1989-1999, is under investigation for obstructing the inquiry, though the case against him is still at a preliminary stage. Along with Menem, a former federal judge in charge of the case, two ex-prosecutors, a former police commissioner, former intelligence chief and a leading figure in the Jewish community are also facing charges.

Cristina Kirchner is being investigated for her role as president in signing a 2012 pact with Iran, agreeing that officials suspected of involvement in the bombing could be investigated in their own country and not brought to Argentina. The prosecuting judge asserts that this was effectively a cover-up to absolve Iran of blame in return for lucrative trade deals. He has ordered the arrest of Kirchner, her former foreign minister Hector Timerman, and former top aide Carlos Zannini as well as other former officials.

All are charged with “treason against the Fatherland” for having signed the pact with Iran, though the 2012 memorandum never went into practice as it was not endorsed by the Iranian parliament.

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