Home » Argentina’s highest criminal court blames Iran, Hezbollah for Jewish center bombing

Argentina’s highest criminal court blames Iran, Hezbollah for Jewish center bombing

by NBC News

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina — Argentina’s highest criminal court reported a new development Thursday in the elusive quest for justice in the deadliest attack in the country’s history — the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center headquarters — concluding Iran had planned the attack and Lebanon’s Hezbollah militant group had executed the plans.

In a ruling obtained by The Associated Press, Argentina’s Court of Cassation deemed Iran and its Lebanese proxy, Hezbollah, responsible for the bombing in Buenos Aires that leveled the community center, killing 85 people, wounding 300 and devastating Latin America’s biggest Jewish community. The court said the attack came in retaliation for Argentina reneging on a nuclear cooperation deal with Tehran.

Alleging Iran’s “political and strategic” role in the bombing, the Argentine court paved the way for victims’ families to bring lawsuits against the Islamic Republic. In the past three decades, Iran has not turned over citizens convicted in Argentina. Interpol arrest warrants have led nowhere.

“The significance of these grave human rights violations for the international community as a whole invokes a state’s duty to provide judicial protection,” the ruling said, declaring the bombing of the Argentine Jewish Mutual Aid Association community center a “crime against humanity.”

The court decision came as no shock. Argentina’s judiciary has long maintained Iran was behind the attack, chilling relations between the countries — particularly after the collapse of a joint investigation. Iran has denied involvement. A spokesperson for Hezbollah, Israel’s archenemy on its northern border, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

People hold up pictures of the victims of the AMIA Jewish center bombing during a ceremony to mark the 22nd anniversary of the 1994 attack that left 85 dead in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 2016.Enrique Marcarian / Reuters

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