Argentina asks Russia to arrest Iran official over 1994 bombing

Buenos Aires: Argentina has asked Russia to arrest former Iranian foreign minister Ali Akbar Velayati for extradition in connection with the 1994 bombing of a Jewish center in Buenos Aires, the foreign ministry said Thursday.

Velayati is in Russia as a special advisor to Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and will travel to China on Friday, so the same request has also been made to Chinese authorities, the foreign ministry said in a statement.

Argentina is awaiting a response from Russia to the request, which was made “within the framework of the extradition treaty between the two countries,” the statement said.

Velayati was foreign minister when a bomb destroyed the headquarters of the Argentine Israelite Mutual Association (AMIA) on July 18, 1994 leaving 85 dead and 300 people wounded.

He is charged with “committing the crime of homicide, classified as doubly aggravated for having been committed with racial or religious hatred and a suitable method to cause widespread danger,” according to the judge responsible for the case.

Lebanon’s Shiite Hezbollah group is accused of the carrying out the bombing of the Jewish center and an attack on Israel’s embassy in Buenos Aires two years earlier at Iran’s demand.