BUENOS AIRES (JTA) – Argentine judges reviewing treason charges against a former minister admitted as evidence a recording of him speaking about Iranian involvement in a terrorist attack in Buenos Aires.
The justices of the federal appeals court ruled last week to admit the 2012 recording of former foreign minister Hector Timerman, who is Jewish. In it he is heard justifying the negotiations with Iran to jointly investigate the 1994 terrorist attack, even though he is heard saying the Islamic Republic was responsible for the bombing of the AMIA Jewish community centre, which killed 85 people.
“If there was someone else, they [the Iranians] wouldn’t have planted the bomb. So we are back to the beginning. Do you have someone else for me to negotiate with?” Timerman said in the recording, which came from a telephone conversation he had with then AMIA president Guillermo Borger – an opponent of Argentina’s brief collaboration with Iran on the investigation.
Federal prosecutor Eduardo Taiano decided in December 2015 to start a probe against Timerman for alleged treason and planning a cover up. In addition to Timerman, ex-president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner is also being probed for alleged treason, along with members of Congress who in February 2103 voted for a Memorandum of Understanding with Iran.
Under Kirchner, Argentina initiated a hotly-contested co-operation with Iran on the AMIA bombing, which Western intelligence agencies and Argentina’s own judiciary said was Iran’s doing.
But the co-operation advocated for by Timerman and Kirchner was abandoned following the election in October 2015 of Argentina’s current president, Mauricio Macri, who voided the pact.
Separately, U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch and FBI Director James Comey on Thursday met in Washington with Argentine Justice Minister Germán Garavano and offered to extend technical help with the investigation into the mysterious death of Alberto Nisman, a special prosecutor investigating the AMIA bombing who was found dead in his apartment hours before he was to present evidence to Argentine lawmakers that Kirchner covered up Iran’s role in the attack.