After a 14-hour session and with 131 votes in favor, Argentine legislators approved on Thursday a bill that authorizes a bilateral Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Iran to investigate the 1994 bombing to the Argentine Israelite Mutual Association (Asociación Mutual Israelita Argentina—AMIA) in Buenos Aires. The government-sponsored agreement signed in January will set up an international truth commission to question Iranian officials accused of planning and financing the attack that left 85 people dead and some 300 injured.
The truth commission will include five independent judges—each country will select two judges and the final judge will be selected by both parties—who will investigate the bombing. Under the agreement, Argentine authorities will be able to interrogate Iranian suspects, which include Defense Minister Gen. Ahmad Vahidi and potential presidential candidate Mohsen Rezaee.
For the past two decades the Iranian government has denied any involvement. The president of the Foreign Relations Committee, Guillermo Carmona, claims that the MOU is the only way by which Argentine officials can question the suspects. However, the opposition and Jewish organizations in Argentina have criticized the bill by arguing that the agreement is “vague, ambiguous and imprecise” and that any cooperation with Iran could hinder existing Argentine investigations into the attack.
The deal has also sparked some tensions between Israel and Argentina—the home to one of the largest Jewish communities in the world—as well as with the United States since the deal is based on dialogue and cooperation with Iran. The agreement will enter into effect once approved by the Iranian Parliament.