Argentina seeks arrest of former Iranian president for bombing

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The Independent US

Prosecutors in Argentina asked a federal judge to order the arrest of the former Iranian president Hashemi Rafsanjani and seven others over the bombing of a Jewish cultural centre in 1994 that killed scores of people.

Alberto Nisman, a prosecutor, told journalists that the decision to attack the centre "was undertaken in 1993 by the highest authorities of the then government of Iran". He said the attack was entrusted to Hizbollah, the Lebanon-based group.

The bombing of the Jewish cultural centre killed 85 people and injured 200 others when an explosive-laden vehicle was driven near the building and detonated. It was the worst terrorist attack ever on Argentine soil.

Iran's government has vehemently denied any involvement in the attack.

Federal Judge Rodolfo Canicoba Corral made no public comments following the news conference by Mr Nisman and a fellow prosecutor, Marcelo Martinez Burgo. The judge, under Argentine law, is allowed an indefinite amount of time to accept or reject the recommendations.

The two prosecutors urged the judge to seek international and national arrest orders for Mr Rafsanjani, who was Iran's president between 1989 and 1997.

They also were asking the judge to detain several other former Iranian officials, including a former intelligence chief, Ali Fallahijan, and a former foreign minister Ali Velayati.

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