By: Mir M.Hosseini
A bomb destroyed the Jewish community center in Buenos Aires killing 85 and wounding more than 200 on July, 18. The van used in the attack was altered with parts of other vehicles to build a better bomb. To direct the full force of the blast, an interior side of the van was reinforced with steel bags of earth. The van was parked two blocks from the bombing site before the Monday morning blast. A tip from Israel warned of a second attack that created panic and was followed by a state of emergency.
Argentina officials quickly blamed the attack on Iran with no credible evidence. Iran categorically denied all such claims which originated from Zionist officials. Tehran condemned terrorism in all its forms, regretted the killings in the bombing and offered intelligence and forensic assistance in the investigation.
But things became more complicated when a dissident Iranian diplomat in Caracas who sought political asylum in Venezuela was questioned by Argentine authorities about the Buenos Aires bombing. Tehran denied that the man was in any ways related to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Iranian officials called this plot designed to embarrass Iran.
A little known Islamic organization called the Partisans of God claimed responsibility. On July, 28, after two car bombs exploded in London, one outside the Israeli Embassy, the other outside a Jewish fund-raising group, injuring 20 people. In a possibly related attack, American and Israeli diplomats strongly suggested that Iran-backed Hezbollah was responsible for the incident.
Some officials hint that attacks may have been reprisals for an Israeli bloody raids on Hezbollah bases in southern Lebanon on June,1, reportedly killing more than 30 guerrillas and leaving at least 60 others wounded.
The state-run media in Tehran asserted that Israel had staged the bombings using intimidating, revolting and sensationalizing methods to bring the power of the United States and Western Europe against Iran.
In 2003, a judge issued warrants for the arrest of 12 Iranians in relation to the attack including Hadi Soleimanpour, Iran's ambassador to Argentina at the time of the bombing. In 2007, Interpol, approved arrest warrants issued by Argentina for five prominent Iranians sparking a diplomatic row between Tehran and Buenos Aires.