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Iran's New Defense Minister Wanted for Bombing

I mentioned in a post last January that Iran is holding several of its citizens from being tried in Argentina for planning the 1994 bombing of the Argentine AMIA Jewish center in Buenos Aires, which killed 85 people.

Ahamad%20Vahidi.jpgNow one of those people, Ahmad Vahidi, has been selected for Defense Minister of Iran: The Guardian has the story,
Ahmadinejad chooses wanted man for cabinet
Iran's new defence minister sought by Interpol for 1994 bombing of Jewish centre

A former commander of Iran's Revolutionary Guards has been nominated by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iran's president, to head the country's defence ministry, despite being listed on Interpol's wanted register for the 1994 bombing of a Jewish cultural centre in Argentina.

Argentinian prosecutors joined Jewish groups last night in condemnation of Ahmadinejad's decision to propose Ahmad Vahidi for the senior cabinet post.

Vahidi has been on an Interpol "red notice" since November 2007, in connection with the car bomb attack on the Israeli-Argentine Mutual Association (AMIA) building in Buenos Aires that killed 85 people and injured 150 – the worst attack on a Jewish target outside Israel since the second world war.

Interpol's red notices are alerts to its 187 member nations. They are not arrest warrants but are sometimes interpreted as a request for apprehending a suspect.

At the time of the attack Vahidi, who is currently Iran's deputy defense minister, commanded a notorious unit of the Revolutionary Guards called the Quds Force. It is known for orchestrating Iran's overseas operations including working alongside Lebanon's Hezbollah militant group, which is accused of carrying out the Buenos Aires attack on the instigation of Iran.

Argentinian prosecutor Alberto Nisman was not surprised with the appointment, considering Iran's record of sheltering terrorists:
Mr Nisman said that Mr Vahidi, who led a unit of Iran's Revolutionary Guard known as the Quds Force at the time of the attack, was accused of "being a key participant in the planning and of having made the decision to go ahead with the attack" against the AMIA.

"It has been demonstrated that Vahidi participated in and approved of the decision to attack AMIA during the meeting in Iraq on 14 August 1993", the prosecutor said.

Argentinian daily Clarin reports that Argentina issued an official statement declaring Vahidi's nomination "an affront to Argentinian Justice and the victims of the brutal terrorist attack against the Asociación Mutual Israelita Argentina (AMIA)", and demanded Iran's cooperation in the case. AMIA president Guillermo Borger called Vahidi's nomination "shameful and insulting."

Vahidi was deputy defense minister during Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's first term in office.