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May 23, 2013 1

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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