Argentina asks Russian Federation to arrest Iran official over 1994 bombing

Middle East expert and author Joel Rosenberg

Argentina asked Russian Federation to arrest former Iranian foreign minister Ali Akbar Velayati for extradition in connection with the 1994 bombing of a Jewish centre in Buenos Aires, the foreign ministry said on Thursday.

Both countries emphasized continuation of Astana talks between Iran, Russia and Turkey, he said.

Meanwhile Iranian news agency IRNA reported that during their meeting on Thursday, Velayati handed Putin two letters, one from Khamenei and the other from Iranian president Hassan Rouhani, without elaborating on their contents. "Only a strategic and long-term relationship (with Russia) can continue this cooperation", said Velayati, who was also due to meet Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak in Moscow.

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Iran denies involvement and Velayati rejected the accusations as a lie in a 2015 interview with Argentine television channel C5N.

Qassemi told the IRIB that Velayati will also pay a visit to China to convey messages from Ayatollah Khamenei and Rouhani to Chinese leaders.

"A frank dialogue with Russian leaders at the highest levels and exchanging views can lead to the views of the two countries moving closer and help in finding ways to increase stability and security in the region and confront the improper policies of America and its allies", Amir-Abdollahian, a former deputy foreign minister, said on Wednesday, according to state media.

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"He makes baseless and illogical remarks and nobody cares about his words", the Iranian official said.

But European firms are reluctant to risk far-reaching U.S. financial penalties they would face for doing business in Iran. He said Iran and Russian Federation will maintain their military presence in Syria to make sure terrorists will not resurge.

According to The New Yorker, Israel has joined forces with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates and suggested to Trump that the USA should offer to cancel the sanctions it imposed on Russia four years ago, following Russia's annexation of the Crimea, in exchange for Russian action to remove Iranian forces from Syria.

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Argentina's government voiced its frustration with Russian President Vladimir Putin's administration on Thursday, after Moscow ignored a formal request from an Argentine judge to arrest a senior visiting Iranian official implicated in the 1994 bombing of the AMIA Jewish center in Buenos Aires.

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