BUENOS AIRES, Argentina ““ The thwarted Iranian plot to kill the Saudi ambassador to the United States also involved an attack on the Saudi and Israeli embassies in Buenos Aires, according to several news reports.
American-Iranian Manssor Arbabsiar was arrested Oct. 11 in the Saudi ambassador murder plot. Although U.S. officials did not state it specifically, according to the news reports, Arbabsiar was also planning attacks against the embassies of Israel and Saudi Arabia in Buenos Aires,.
The acting head of the AMIA Jewish Center in Buenos Aires, Angel Barman, told JTA, “It’s not surprising that Iran is suspected of committing a new attack.”
Upon hearing that the FBI had broken up a series of terrorist attacks involving Iranian targets in Argentina, AMIA said in a statement, “Whoever is unpunished, reoffends.” The statement refers to the 1994 bombing of the AMIA Jewish center in Buenos Aires that killed 85 and injured hundreds. Argentina has accused Iran of ordering the bombing, which it says was carried out by the Iran-backed Hezbollah terrorist organization.
“This only shows the impunity with which Iran operates given its current lack of cooperation to clarify the AMIA bombing, a pending task that leaves the possibility of a third attack in Argentina open,” according to the AMIA.
An Israeli embassy spokesman in Argentina would not comment about the reports. An attack on Israel’s embassy in Argentina on March 17, 1992, killed 29 and injured 242.
In a ceremony for the Argentine Diplomats Day on Oct. 11, Foreign Minister Hector Timerman highlighted the “openness” of the Argentinian government toward Iran after Iran announced recently that it would help bring the AMIA bombers to justice.
Hours before Iran’s intention to attack embassies in Argentina was made public, Timerman said the warrants issued by Interpol in the AMIA against those accused of the “heinous attack” remain firm.
Sergio Witis, vice president of DAIA, Argentine Jewry’s primary umbrella organization, said the latest revelations are “a matter of concern” because they affect the safety of all Argentinians. “It doesn’t surprise us that Iran stands behind this kind of plan,” Witis told Argentinian TV channel C5N.
The United States reportedly informed the Argentinian government about the Iranian terrorist plan.
“Argentina was one of the countries called by the undersecretary for political affairs and Deputy Secretary of State William Burns” to talk about this issue, said a U.S. spokesperson.
Top Argentinian government sources told the Clarin newspaper that the charge d’affaires of the U.S. embassy in Argentina, Jefferson Brown, was in Argentina’s Foreign Ministry last week to discuss details of the indictment that the U.S. Attorney filed against two Iranian citizens.
Diplomatic sources confirmed that Argentina appears in the investigations initiated by the FBI and the Drug Enforcement Agency, as well as other countries whose names were not revealed. ABC News initially reported the potential attack on the embassies of Israel and Saudi Arabia on Oct. 11. On the following day, The New York Times ran its own story on Page One.
Argentina has the largest population of Jews in Latin America.
JTA Wire Service