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May 23, 2013

Two AMIA Bombing Suspects Run For Iran Presidency

iran-amia-rezai-velayati

Ali Akbar Velayati and Mohsen Rezai

As the presidential election in Iran approaches in June, it is noteworthy that two candidates with links to the 1994 attack on a Jewish center in Argentina passed the regime’s vetting process and are standing as candidates for president of Iran.

The two individuals, Mohsen Rezai and Ali Akbar Velayati, have been accused of planning the Argentine Jewish Mutual Association (AMIA) Jewish center bombing in Buenos Aires, which killed 85 people and injured over 250.

Rezai, a former commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), is sought by Interpol for his alleged involvement in the case. He is currently the Secretary of the Expediency Council.

In 2006, when Velayati was Iran’s Foreign Minister, Argentinian authorities accused him of approving the AMIA bombing. He has also been accused by German authorities of planning the 1992 “Mykonos Assassination” attacks in Berlin that killed several Iranian Kurdish leaders.

This is not the first time suspected individuals linked to the AMIA bombing have run for president of Iran. In 2009, Rezai ran against current Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and lost.

Under the presidency of Ahmadinejad, Ahmad Vahidi, who is also on Interpol’s Most Wanted List, was named Iran’s defense minister in 2009. Vahidi has been accused by Argentinian officials of helping plan the July 1994 attack.

In early 2013, the Iranian and Argentine governments signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that would bypass Argentina’s judicial system and set up an international Truth Commission to investigate the bombings. While the Argentine Senate gave its approval in February, President Ahmadinejad only approved the measure on May 19 by sidestepping a vote in the Iranian parliament. The MOU stipulates that the agreement must be submitted to each country’s respective legal bodies for approval.

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