Posts Tagged ‘Ahmad Vahidi’

Argentina: #Nisman’s murder is all about Iran

Thursday, January 22nd, 2015

Let’s not lose track of the real story as we examine the details of last Sunday’s assassination of prosecutor Alberto Nisman: His murder is all about Iran.

Through his investigation of the 1994 AMIA bombing, Nisman found out that president Cristina Fernendez had allegedly been secretly negotiating with Iran since 2011, and conspiring to cover up Iran’s role in the 1994 terrorist attack. He brought a civil lawsuit last week, asking the judge to freeze $23 million of assets belonging to Mrs. Kirchner and the others named in the complaint, and was scheduled to testify to Argentina’s Congress on Monday, but was prevented from doing it by a single shot to the head.

Eli Lake writes on Argentina, Iran and the Mysterious Death of a Prosecutor

. . . Nisman made an enemy of Iran, a country with a history of killing its political opponents in foreign countries. In May 2013, Nisman issued a scathing report that implicated several senior Iranian officials by name in the AMIA bombing. Just four months earlier, Kirchner’s government had signed a memorandum of understanding with Iran to investigate the incident. Part of the deal, however, was that Nisman’s investigators would not be allowed to interview senior Iranian officials. Argentina also got a favorable trade pact to import Iranian oil in exchange for grain. Nisman said the terms of the Iran-Argentina joint investigation amounted to a coverup.

The AMIA attack occurred in 1994, before Iran’s government began trying to clean up its image with the rest of the world. It was before Iran elected its first reform government in 1997, and before Iran’s current government agreed to nuclear negotiations with China, France, Germany, Russia, the U.K. and U.S.

And yet many of the senior Iranian officials Nisman named still have influence. They include Ali Fallahian, who is today a member of the regime’s council of experts, the clerical body that would choose Iran’s next supreme leader; Ahmad Vahidi, who served as Iran’s defense minister between 2009 and 2013; and Ali Akbar Rafsanjani, the former Iranian president and a favorite interlocutor of many Western diplomats.

The news of Nisman’s death was first called a suicide. However, since Sunday, details have come to the surface – Here’s what has been revealed as of the writing of this post:

  • He was found in his bath­room in a pool of blood. Next to his body was a 22 cal­iber firearm and a bul­let casing.
  • He died from a bul­let to the head. Ear­lier accounts said the entry point was on his right side towards the rear of the ear; the offi­cial account says it was the right temple.
  • The police prevented medics from two ambulances (one arriving at 10:45PM, the other at 11:30PM) from entering the premises.
  • The inves­ti­gat­ing pros­e­cu­tor initially called it an “induced suicide.”
  • Nis­man left a shop­ping list for his housekeeper.
  • He had talked to his personal trainer on resuming his regular schedule.
  • Appar­ently none of the ten secu­rity offi­cers assigned to pro­tect Nis­man was sta­tioned on the thir­teenth floor of the apart­ment build­ing on which he lived. None were on the premises from Saturday until Sunday afternoon.
  • His apart­ment has a main entrance and a ser­vice entrance, but all the initial reports only men­tioned the main entrance.
  • Inves­ti­ga­tors found another means of access to the apart­ment through a hall­way where the air-​conditioners are located, with a door that leads to the apart­ment, where they found a fin­ger­print and a foot­print.
  • Ariel Lijo, the Argen­tin­ian judge who received Nisman’s 300 page com­plaint alleg­ing the involve­ment of Pres­i­dent Cristina​Fer­nán­dez de Kirch­ner and oth­ers in cov­er­ing up Iran’s cul­pa­bil­ity for the 1994 bomb­ing of the AMIA, ordered the seizure of all doc­u­men­ta­tion and other evi­dence referred to in the complaint.
  • Author­i­ties raided both his home and his office for all doc­u­ments regard­ing any of his investigations.

In addition to the Iran allegations, Cristina Fernandez’s administration is also allegedly involved in money laundering and precursor chemical trafficking, according to this report by Douglas Farah. Adding to the list are new accusations of cover-ups by another Argentinian prosecutor, Germán Moldes.

Nis­man had been barred by the Argen­tin­ian gov­ern­ment from tes­ti­fy­ing on Iran’s increased influ­ence in South Amer­ica at a U.S. Con­gress sub­com­mit­tee hear­ing in 2013.

Yesterday evening I was discussing Iran’s expanding influence with David Gerstman who emailed,

Lee Smith recently wrote that in regards to the nuclear negotiations Iran is “pushing through an open door.” It’s not just in terms of the nukes, it’s also in terms of the regional hegemony. The US is willing to cede a huge amount of the Middle East influence to Iran.

The Tower did a post on Iran’s destabilizing influence on the region and noted that when he first proposed reaching out to Iran, Obama said, “actions over many years now have been unhelpful when it comes to promoting peace and prosperity both in the region and around the world; that their attacks or their financing of terrorist organizations like Hezbollah and Hamas, the bellicose language that they’ve used towards Israel, their development of a nuclear weapon, or their pursuit of a nuclear weapon — that all those things create the possibility of destabilizing the region.”

And now to go along with the outreach, the destabilization has only accelerated.

Indeed,

Senator Robert Menendez (D – N.J.), the ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, pushed back today against the White House’s claims that Congressional action could derail negotiations with Iran over its illicit nuclear program. In his State of the Union speech last night, President Barack Obama claimed that such initiatives “will all but guarantee that diplomacy fails” with Iran.

In his opening statement to a committee hearing titled “Iran Nuclear Negotiations: Status of Talks and the Role of Congress“, Menendez said:

The more I hear from the administration in its quotes, the more it sounds like talking points that come straight out of Tehran. And it feeds to the Iranian narrative of victimization when they are the ones with original sin: an illicit nuclear weapons program going back over the course of twenty years that they are unwilling to come clean on.

Bonus:
Argentine Phone Calls Detail Efforts to Shield Iran

UPDATE,
Read Claudia Rosett on Alberto Nisman’s Warning About Iran, especially page 2.

Analysis: Alberto Nisman and the Crisis of Democracy in Argentina

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In a lighter mode,

Mexican humorist Paco Almaraz has Cristina in the burnt-out unit, and brings up the names of “suicides” Brigadier Rodolfo Echegoyen, Jorge [sic – the correct name is Horacio] Estrada, Alfredo Yabrán, Lourdes di Natale and Marcelo Cattaneo (in Spanish).

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Argentina: Cristina trusts Iran

Thursday, September 26th, 2013

The largest terrorism attack in our hemisphere prior to 9/11/2001 was the explosion at the Asociación Mutual Israelita Argentina (AMIA) center in Buenos Aires on July 18, 1994, killing 85 people and injuring hundreds. It was masterminded by Mohsen Rabbani, who presently is actively recruiting converts in Latin America, and Ahmad Vahidi, now Iran’s Defense Minister.

Where do things stand now?

Cristina Fernandez trusts Teheran and hopes for cooperation in the AMIA case
President Cristina Fernandez during her speech to the UN General Assembly said she hoped that the new Government in Iran would cooperate with Argentina in relation to the clarification of the attack on the Asociación Mutual Israelita Argentina (AMIA) in Buenos Aires in 1994.

(emphasis added)

The Argentina/Iran project, which commits both countries to commit to an investigation into the perpetrators of the deadly bombing, is subject to uncertainty in Iran where it remains in legal limbo.

Funny wording, that, “commits both countries to commit to an investigation”.

Having received the equivalent of a pre-engagement ring, Cristina went on and asked for “a date to send an Argentine magistrate to Teheran”.

Don’t hold your breath, Cristina.

While at the, she took time to condemn the UK government for deploying nuclear-armed submarines around the Falklands.

Priorities, priorities.


Hezbollah in the tri-border area, Hezbollah in the tri-state area

Tuesday, February 14th, 2012

For years I have been blogging on Iran’s presence in Latin America, which includes Hezbollah’s influence in the tri-border area of Paraguay-Brazil-Argentina.

Most readers probably consider this an abstraction of sorts, things happening far away that have no bearing in their lives.

In fact, this is a matter of national security important to the USA. Mitchell Silber, director of intelligence analysis for the New York City Police Department, explains why in today’s Wall Street Journal,
The Iranian Threat to New York City
As the West’s conflict with Iran over its nuclear program heats up, New York City—with its large Jewish population—becomes an increasingly attractive target.

Iran has a proven record of using its official presence in a foreign city to coordinate attacks, which are then carried out by Hezbollah agents from abroad, often leveraging the local community—whether wittingly or not—as facilitators. Most notable are the 1992 and 1994 bombings of Israeli and Jewish targets in Argentina, which killed 29 and 85 people, respectively. The New York City Police Department, where I work as director of Intelligence Analysis, sent a team to Argentina to study the modus operandi of those attacks and to meet with Argentine security officials who worked the investigations. Coupled with open source information, this is what the NYPD learned:

Iranian agents were sent to Argentina years before the attacks, where they integrated into society and became Argentine nationals. Mohsen Rabbani is believed to have been in charge of coordinating the 1994 attack and is subject to an Interpol arrest warrant for his involvement. He first came to Argentina in 1983, where he subsequently became the main imam at At-Tauhid, an Iranian-funded mosque in Buenos Aires.

After traveling to Iran in August 1993 to participate in a meeting that allegedly gave the planned attack the green light, Mr. Rabbani returned to Argentina as a cultural attaché to the Iranian Embassy, conveniently providing him diplomatic immunity. Then, Hezbollah agents from abroad received logistical support from members of the local Lebanese-Shiite community and the Iranian Embassy to carry out the attack.

The Argentine attacks were by no means isolated incidents. Hezbollah has been tied to failed attacks in 2009 against Israeli and Jewish interests in Azerbaijan, Egypt and Turkey. Last month, Thai officials arrested a suspected Hezbollah militant for possibly planning attacks there or perhaps facilitating the movement of weapons through Bangkok.

In the New York-New Jersey-Pennsylvania area,

Hezbollah and its supporters have a presence in New York and the surrounding area as well. In 2008, two Staten Island men pleaded guilty to providing material support to Hezbollah. Just down the road in Philadelphia, 26 people—including a former Brooklyn resident—were indicted in federal court in 2009 for conspiring to provide material support to the terrorist group.

Lebanese-linked businesses in the tri-state area and elsewhere have been implicated in a massive money-laundering scheme benefiting Hezbollah. This scheme was revealed in a civil suit filed against several Lebanese financial institutions last December by the Drug Enforcement Administration and the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York. Meanwhile, at least 18 other Hezbollah-related cases have been brought in federal courts across the United States since 2000.

Among them, Moussa Ali Hamdan, a naturalized US citizen who lived in Brooklyn, worked in New Jersey, and is wanted in Philadelphia for exporting stolen cars to Lebanon to finance terror organizations there.

And, for what it’s worth, Iranian Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi is wanted by Interpol for being behind the 1994 AMIA bombing in Buenos Aires.

Cross-posted in the Green Room.

UPDATE
Linked by The Other McCain. Thanks!


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Bolivia Defense Ministry invites accused Iranian terrorist mastermind, then disinvites him

Wednesday, June 1st, 2011

iran, whose embassy in Bolivia is the largest in our hemisphere, sent Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi to Bolivia at the Bolivian Defense Ministry’s invitation.

While in Bolivia, Vahidi attended a ceremony with President Evo Morales,

The article does not touch on the question of what the nature of Vahidi’s visit to the BDM would be. However, apparently Argentinian officials must have protested, because Bolivia’s foreign minister wrote a letter of apology to the Argentinian foreign minister, and Vahidi was sent out of the country. The apology claimed that

The invitation . . . had been issued by the Bolivian defence ministry which did not know the background to the case and had not co-ordinated with other departments.

Vahidi is wanted for being behind the AMIA bombing.

Iran minister accused of planning Argentina Jewish center bombing told to leave Bolivia
Bolivia sends letter of apology to Argentina for inviting Iranian Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi, who is accused by Argentina of planning the 1994 bombing of a Jewish center that killed 85.
(Hat tip: Jewish Bro’s Twitter feed.)

Argentina had previously protested Vahidi’s appointment as Defense Minister, which Iran carefully ignored.

Vahidi is not the only Iranian accused of being connected to the AMIA bombing who travels to Latin America. As you may recall, Mohsen Rabbani, who is also wanted for the bombings, is recruiting in Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, and Mexico.

Argentina continues to press the case on the 1994 AMIA and the 1992 Israeli embassy bombings.

Cross-posted at Real Clear World.

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Iran’s New Defense Minister Wanted for Bombing: 15 Minutes on Latin America

Tuesday, August 25th, 2009

Today’s podcast at 11AM Eastern, Iran’s New Defense Minister Wanted for Bombing.

Ahmadinejad chooses wanted man for cabinet

Saturday, August 22nd, 2009

Ahmadinejad chooses wanted man for cabinet; not just wanted, but wanted for the 1994 AMIA bombing in Argentina, and not just any cabinet post, either:
My post, Iran’s New Defense Minister Wanted for Bombing is up at Real Clear World.