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Iran summons top Argentine diplomat after protest of nominee

  • Story Highlights
  • Iran summons Argentina's top diplomat in Tehran
  • Argentina and Jewish groups protested nomination of Iran's defense minister
  • Ahmad Vahidi was appointed last week to the defense minister post in Iran
  • Vahidi is wanted by Interpol in connection with a 1994 bombing in Buenos Aires
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TEHRAN, Iran (CNN) -- Iran summoned Argentina's top diplomat in Tehran on Monday after the country complained about the nomination of a man who has been linked to a 1994 terrorist bombing in Buenos Aires, Iranian media have reported.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad nominated Ahmad Vahidi to the defense minister post last week, drawing rebuke from the government in Buenos Aires, as well as Jewish leaders there.

Vahidi's nomination is expected to be approved by Iran's parliament.

Argentina's foreign ministry called the nomination "an affront to Argentine justice and to the victims of the brutal terrorist attack."

Vahidi -- a former leader of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard -- is one of six former and current Iranian officials sought by Interpol for the 1994 terrorist bombing of a Buenos Aires Jewish center. Also on the list is former Iranian President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and Mohsen Rezaie, a conservative candidate in this year's presidential election. Rezaie was head of the Revolutionary Guard at the time of the attack, which killed 85 people and wounded about 300.

Iran has denied any connection to the bombing, and has condemned the attack.

Iran's Foreign Ministry summoned Argentina's charge d'affaires Mario Enrique Quinteros on Monday after Argentina's Foreign Ministry issued its "strongest condemnation" of Ahmadinejad's choice of Vahidi to the defense minister post.

"The Argentine government demands once again that the Islamic Republic of Iran cooperate fully with Argentine justice, permitting the people accused of participating in the attack against the AMIA [Israeli-Argentine Mutual Association] to be judged by competent courts of justice," the ministry said.

Delegation of Israeli-Argentine Associations, or DAIA, also rejected the nomination:

"The decision adopted by the Iranian president, who systematically denies the Holocaust and calls for the destruction of the state of Israel, constitutes an unqualified insult to the victims of the massacre and their families, to the Judaic-Argentine community and to the Argentine Republic and its judicial system and deserves the most categorical condemnation by the national government and from the community of democratic nations," the group said in a written statement last week.

Argentine authorities have accused Vahidi of having planned the July 18, 1994, blast of the Israeli-Argentine Mutual Association. He has been on Interpol's list since 2007.

Vahidi is accused of working with Lebanon's Hezbollah militants, who are believed to have carried out the attack.

Argentina's President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner and other leaders commemorated the 15th anniversary of the attack last week. The original plans were delayed because the country was attempting to quell the outbreak of swine flu last month.

Argentina was the site of another anti-Semitic terrorist attack, the 1992 bombing of the Israeli Embassy in which 29 people died and more than 200 were wounded.

CNN's Brian Byrnes contributed to this report from Buenos Aires, Argentina.

All About IranMohsen RezaieInterpolArgentinean PoliticsHezbollah

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