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US sceptical about Iran-Argentine commission

Nuland doubts Tehran will cooperate with investigation into 1994 bombing

Gulf News

Washington: The United States on Thursday voiced doubt that Argentina and Iran’s planned ‘truth commission’ would bring to justice those responsible for the deadly 1994 bombing of a Buenos Aires Jewish community centre.

Argentine courts have said Iran was behind the attack on the building, which killed 85 people.

The commission agreement, announced over the weekend but subject to the approval of Argentina’s Congress, outlines plans for Argentine officials to interview suspects in Iran rather than in a third country, as originally proposed by Argentina.

State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland has said little about the commission but stressed that Iran had a responsibility to work with Argentine authorities to bring those responsible for the bombing to justice.

“We are sceptical that such a just solution can be found in the arrangement announced,” Nuland said on Thursday in a written response to a question. “Iran’s record of cooperation with international authorities is profoundly deficient, which underlines the concern that its engagement on this matter be focused on achieving justice promptly.”

Israel and world Jewish groups denounced plans by Argentina and Iran to form a truth commission, which was regarded as a diplomatic victory for Iran as it confronted a US-led effort to isolate Tehran because of its nuclear programme.

Western nations fear Iran intends to use the programme to produce atomic weapons. Iran denies this, saying its programme is solely for peaceful purposes such as generating electricity and producing medical isotopes.

The bombing occurred two years after a group linked to Iran and the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah claimed responsibility for a bomb attack on the Israeli Embassy in the Argentine capital that killed 29. Iran has denied links to either attack.