Argentine president-elect pledges to cancel pact with Iran on AMIA bombing

Mauricio Macri, left, joined by his wife Juliana Awada, right, speaks to the press during runoff elections on Nov. 22, 2015 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. (Amilcar Orfali/LatinContent via Getty Images)

Mauricio Macri, left, joined by his wife Juliana Awada, right, speaks to the press during runoff elections on Nov. 22, 2015 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. (Amilcar Orfali/LatinContent via Getty Images)

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (JTA) – The president-elect of Argentina said he will cancel the agreement signed with Iran to jointly investigate the 1994 attack on the AMIA Jewish centre in Buenos Aires, as he vowed during the campaign.

“We will propose to the Congress to cancel the pact with Iran as we promised in the campaign,” Mauricio Macri said Monday morning in his first news conference after being elected in a runoff vote the previous day.

Macri, the opposition candidate, will take office on Dec. 10. He won the runoff with 51.4 percent of the vote, defeating Daniel Scioli, a close ally of President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, who garnered 48.6 percent, according to the final results released Monday.

The agreement has been criticized by Israel and Argentina’s Jews, among others. Iran has been accused of being behind the AMIA bombing, which killed 85 and injured hundreds.

Macri has a recent history of close relations with Argentine Jewry and Israel.

As mayor of Buenos Aires City, the country’s capital, Macri’s government implemented a plan to support incubators and start-ups inspired by the Israeli “Start-Up Nation” model. Local entrepreneurs visited Israel to learn how to market themselves globally, and they described their experiences on the city government’s website.

In June 2014, he traveled to Israel to participate in a mayors’ conference in Jerusalem, where he offered his support to Israel against terrorism.

“Israeli suffering has to be understood. From afar, it is easy to give advice, but you have to be in Israel to really understand the situation,” he told journalists.

Macri’s new political party, PRO, leads Argentina’s Let’s Change coalition. In 2011, the centre-right party picked Rabbi Sergio Bergman to head the ticket for municipal elections. In 2013, Bergman was tapped by Macri to run for the national legislature, which he won, becoming the first rabbi to serve as a national lawmaker in the country. Macri also has ties to other Jewish candidates.

On Election Day, Macri played in a soccer game with his friends against the over-45 team that will represent Argentina at the next Pan-American Maccabi Games in Chile. The president’s team defeated the Jewish squad, 4 to 1.

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