Investigations into past Iranian terrorist attacks in Argentina reveal the extent of its terror network in Latin America and its determination to sponsor global chaos.
On July 18, 1994, a Hezbollah suicide bomber operating under directions from Iran, rammed a truck laden with 600 pounds of explosives into the Asociación Mutual Israelita Argentina (amia) building—a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires. The ensuant blast killed 85 people and wounded more than 300 others.
Nearly 22 years later, the amia bombing remains as the worst terrorist attack in Argentine history, and it is largely unsolved. But the bombing is arguably the most revealing of the extent of Iran’s terror outreach beyond the borders of the Middle East.
As Iran has expanded and spread its acts of terrorism and its hatred for Jews all over the Earth, even right up to the United States’ backdoor, it simultaneously has worked hard to cover its tracks and present itself as a pragmatic international partner. Terrifyingly, Iran has scored some successes: The world’s number one state sponsor of terrorism is now essentially an ally of the U.S. and the West.
Time will prove that to be a fatal mistake.
The Murder of Alberto Nisman
The prospects of signing a landmark nuclear deal and securing unprecedented legitimacy motivated the Islamic Republic to intensify its art of cover-up. Regarding Argentina, Iran has striven to distance itself from the 1994 bomb attack and stall investigations.
On Jan. 14, 2015, Alberto Nisman, the special prosecutor who had been investigating the amia bombing for over a decade, filled a complaint against then Argentine President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner and some officials in her administration for covering up Iran’s involvement in the attack.
Four days later, Nisman was found with a bullet in his head. His testimony before the Argentine Congress about the alleged cover-up had been scheduled for the following day.
To this day, Nisman’s death is still under investigation. While some judicial authorities in Argentina are yet to make a ruling on the cause of death, other high authorities like the attorney general for the criminal appeals court, Ricardo Sáenz, and former President Kirchner have already declared Nisman’s death a homicide.
In September 2004, Nisman was appointed special prosecutor for the amia attack. Two years later, in October 2006, he formerly accused eight Iranian officials (including former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani) and a Lebanese militant for the terror bombing. The mastermind of the attack was Mohsen Rabbani, an Iranian intelligence official who operated under commercial, cultural and diplomatic covers as a halal meat inspector, a Shiite cleric and a cultural attaché at the Iranian Embassy in Argentina.
According to the report, Iran coordinated all of its Latin American activities via its embassy in Spain, and Rabbani kept in close contact with it. “According to European intelligence officials,” Humire wrote in his report, “Rabbani belonged to [Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s] special intelligence bureau and worked in Germany prior to arriving in Argentina. … Once in Argentina, coordinating with Iranian embassies in Spain, Germany, Brazil, Colombia, Venezuela, Chile, Uruguay, Cuba and Mexico, Rabbani immediately began creating a comprehensive cover platform to insert additional Iranian operatives into the Southern Cone region.”
Iranian embassies in Brazil and Colombia, in collaboration with Hezbollah operatives in those countries, provided logistical support for the amia attack. These embassies established multiple front companies for their nefarious activities. One of those companies was Iran Shipping Lines (irisl). The Argentine intelligence reports on the amia attack accused irisl for transporting the Iranian-made explosives that were used in the bombing. (Until recently, irisl was under sanctions for supporting Iran’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs.)
Just prior to the bombing, Iran sharply increased its communications among its Latin America operatives. But for security purposes, it shifted from electronic communications to couriers—a move that necessitated even more undercover Iranian agents infiltrating the continent.
Following the amia bombing, Iran strove hard to cover its tracks, even while it maintained its presence and influence in the region. According to a top official of the administration of former Argentine President Néstor Kirchner, Iran repeatedly pleaded with Kirchner for impunity over the attack. Néstor, however, was not as cooperative as his wife Cristina would be. “The radical shift between the late Néstor Kirchner and his wife and successor Cristina Fernández de Kirchner with regard to Iran can be explained by the intervention of Venezuela,” the report said. “Under [former Venezuelan President Hugo] Chávez’s influence, Fernández de Kirchner and Iran bridged the gap caused by the 1994 amia attack to create a new, seemingly symbiotic relationship.”
Iran provided Cristina Fernández de Kirchner with political and financial support in exchange for exonerating Tehran in its role in the 1994 terrorist attack. That support included funding her presidential campaign in 2007. Special prosecutor Alberto Nisman called it a “criminal plan” to whitewash Iran’s fingerprints. Iranian and Argentine officials engaged in secret negotiations that resulted in a Memorandum of Understanding between the two governments.
The Iran Nuclear Deal
One month before his death, Alberto Nisman requested that the United Nations activate Chapter vii of the UN Charter for its involvement in the case and for Iran to extradite those responsible for the bombing. Humire’s report summarized:
Nisman’s strategy to take the amia case to the United Nations Security Council (unsc) took place at a time when Iran was in intense nuclear negotiations with the [P5+1 nations]. These nuclear negotiations, which began in secret in 2012 and became public in 2013, ran parallel to the controversial Memorandum of Understanding (mou) signed by Iran and Argentina. The mou was the basis for Nisman’s allegations of criminal conspiracy because, according to the prosecutor, it was negotiated secretly to offer impunity to Iran. This parallel two-track backdoor diplomacy with the P5+1 and Argentina served one fundamental goal for the Islamic Republic of Iran: political legitimacy. …
The 1994 amia bombing was a stark reminder to the international community of Iran’s troubled history with international terrorism. Alberto Nisman’s decade-long work, from the 2006 indictment to his most recent 2015 judicial complaint, ensured remembrance of this fact. His equally important 2013 dictum on Iran’s extending networks of terror in Latin America served to remind us that the threat from Iran is not confined just to the Middle East; it is clear and present throughout our hemisphere.
According to the report, the amia case would have jeopardized the Iran nuclear deal. “Nisman knew this, and acted accordingly,” it said.
Extent of Iran’s Threat
The report concluded by showing how post-nuclear deal Iran postured to present itself as a resurgent power in Latin America. It noted that Iran entered a new phase of “capitalizing on its increased legitimacy to expand commercial activity as plausible deniability for possible attendant acts of terror.”
Iran’s economic footprint in Latin America paved the way for its infiltration of the continent; the billions of dollars in sanctions relief that the nuclear deal afforded Iran will only increase its presence in the region.
The report exhorted: “It is incumbent upon policymakers throughout the Western Hemisphere to learn the lessons from Alberto Nisman and heed his warning about Iran and Hezbollah. This is not a warning about a threat thousands of miles away in the Middle East, it is here at our doorstep, where Iran has built a terrorist infrastructure [that has] outflanked our U.S. Southern Security Perimeter.”
Iran has historically used terrorism to export radical Islam, to expand its hegemony and even to cover up its tainted tracks. Not only does it use terrorism as a religious and political tool, it uses it to fulfill what it considers a divine responsibility of sowing global chaos to hasten the return of its version of the messiah!
It thus would be a grave mistake to limit Iran’s threats only to the Middle East, Latin America or even the United States of America. Iran poses a serious threat to the world!
It would be tragic to ignore Iran’s threats to Europe in particular, both directly and indirectly. Iran threatens European interests in the Middle East and Latin America—a continent with which it has historically shared political, cultural and religious ties.
The political developments in Latin America—particularly in Venezuela, Brazil and Argentina—are significantly positive for Europe; they are advances that the Continent would want to maintain and expand.
We can expect Europe to heed Alberto Nisman’s warning about the Islamic Republic of Iran and its quest for global domination. The Bible prophesies that Iran’s nefarious activities will continue until Europe decisively and violently deals with Iran—once and for all. Daniel 11:40 reads, “And at the time of the end shall the king of the south [radical Islam led by Iran] push at him: and the king of the north [Europe] shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over.”
Latin American might have a lot to do with that clash. ▪
Full article: Iran’s Past and Future Presence in Latin America (The Trumpet)