July 18, 2019

Cardin, Rubio Urge DOJ to Help Hold Accountable Masterminds of the 1994 Bombing of the AMIA

WASHINGTON - U.S. Senators Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and Marco Rubio (D-Fla.) today, on the 25th Anniversary of the bombing of the Argentine Israelite Mutual Association (AMIA) Jewish Community Center in Buenos Aires, Argentina, urged Attorney General William Barr to help hold accountable the masterminds of the 1994 bombing. While INTERPOL published red notices for six senior Iranian officials, the Argentine authorities determined these individuals were responsible for the attack, INTERPOL member states have not acted on them with sufficient urgency. In their letter, Cardin and Rubio urged Attorney General Barr to support Argentina each time one of the implicated Iranian individuals in question travels outside of Iran. 
 
Cardin is the Ranking Member and Rubio is the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere, Transnational Crime, Civilian Security, Democracy, Human Rights, and Global Women’s Issues.
 
The full text of the letter is below:
 
Dear Attorney General Barr:  
 
Today, July 18, 2019, marks 25 years since the 1994 terrorist attack on the Argentine Jewish Mutual Aid Society (AMIA) in Buenos Aires. This attack was the deadliest in Argentina’s history, leaving 85 dead and over 300 wounded. Based on an exhaustive investigation, Argentine prosecutors implicated eight senior Iranian officials in the attack—namely, Moshen Rabbani, Ahmad Vahidi, Ali Akbar Velayati, Moshen Rezai, Ali Fallahijian, Ahmad Reza Asghari, Hadi Soleimanpour, and Ali Akbar Hashemi RafsanjaniIn 2006, Argentina’s Federal Judge Rodolfo Cabicoba Corral issued arrest warrants for them. In 2007, INTERPOL published red notices for six of these Iranians.
 
 While the red notices remain valid, however, INTERPOL member states have not acted on them with sufficient urgency for the previous 12 years. Despite international recognition that these Iranian officials were the masterminds of the AMIA bombing, they continue to hold positions of responsibility in the Iranian government, engaging in or supporting troubling malign activity worldwide. Moreover, since the issuance of the arrest warrants and INTERPOL red notices, these individuals have collectively reportedly traveled to at least 20 countries, including Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Bolivia, Brazil, China, Iraq, Lebanon, Malaysia, Mauritania, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, Syria, Tajikistan, Turkey, and Uzbekistan. These countries are all INTERPOL members and should be expected to cooperate in locating and provisionally arresting those for whom legitimate red notices have been published. In addition, these individuals have used their travels to circumvent U.S. sanctions and export Iran’s revolution. It is not in our own national interest for these individuals to remain at large.
 
Argentina has stood virtually alone in seeking action on both the INTERPOL red notices and the Argentine arrest warrants associated with the Iranian officials accused of planning the AMIA bombing when they travel outside Iran. As Secretary of State Mike Pompeo travels to Buenos Aires this week to underscore U.S. support for Argentina in its quest for justice in the AMIA bombing— including by holding Iran and its proxies accountable for the terrorist attack— the U.S. should signal that it will prioritize supporting Argentina’s efforts to apprehend and bring the accused to trial.
 
During the same visit, regional Latin American counterparts are expected to convene in a Ministerial meeting, providing another opportunity for the U.S., to publicly call on our allies to ensure these Iranian individuals are turned over to Argentinian law enforcement so they can be tried for their role in the bombing. We therefore urge the Department of Justice to support Argentina each time one of the implicated Iranian individuals in question travels outside of Iran. This is an important action that the U.S. can take to ensure Iran is not able to engage in terrorism with impunity, even 25 years after an attack.
 
Thank you for prompt attention to this matter.
 
Sincerely, 

###