BUENOS AIRES — The new government of Argentina has effectively voided an agreement with Iran to jointly investigate the deadly 1994 bombing of a Jewish center in the Argentine capital.
In its first week of operation, the government under President Mauricio Macri withdrew the appeal filed by its predecessor, led by Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, of a federal court decision declaring the 2013 pact unconstitutional. Macri and his government were sworn in Thursday.
After his election last month, Macri pledged to void the pact, which has been criticized by Israel and Argentina’s Jews, among others. Iran has been accused of being behind the AMIA center bombing, which killed 85 and injured hundreds.
On Monday, lawyers of the Justice Ministry presented a file withdrawing the appeal of the court decision made last year when federal judges in Argentina declared unconstitutional the government’s cooperation with Iran on the investigation of the terrorist attack on the Buenos Aires center.
AMIA and Argentina’s Jewish political umbrella group, DAIA, had filed a petition with the court arguing against cooperating with Iran because of evidence linking former Iranian government representatives to the bombing.
New Argentine Justice Minister German Garavano informed the media of the move on Friday.
“We are instructing our lawyers today to cease the appeal on Monday,” Garavano said just one day after being sworn in.
DAIA President Julio Schlosser, who was succeeded on Monday by Ariel Cohen Sabban as the new leader of Argentine Jewry, was elated.
“This news is excellent, not only for the DAIA but also for Argentine society,” Schlosser said.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also praised the action.
“This is a welcome change of direction, and I hope we will see a significant improvement of Argentina-Israeli relations as well as a change for the better in relations with other countries in South America in the coming years,” Netanyahu said Sunday, during his weekly cabinet meeting.
The pact, signed by Argentina’s Jewish former foreign minister, Hector Timerman, and his Iranian counterpart, proposed the creation of a joint commission to help solve the bombing.
In November 2013, the late prosecutor Alberto Nisman, who was in charge of the AMIA case, asked a federal judge to declare the pact unconstitutional, saying the memorandum of understanding with Iran “constitutes a wrongful interference of the Executive Branch.”