May 22, 2013
Bolivia asks Iranian official to leave country after Argentine complaint
The Bolivian Government asked Iranian Defence Minister Ahmad Vahídi, accused by local authorities of masterminding the AMIA terrorist attack in 1994, to leave the country after an Argentine attorney asked Interpol to arrest him, Foreign Minister Héctor Timerman said.
Through his Twitter account, Timerman also posted a letter sent by his Bolivian counterpart, in which he apologized for the diplomatic incident.
“You should know that the Bolivian Government has already taken the necessary measures to make sure that Mr. Ahmad Vahídi immediately leaves Bolivian territory, proving that Bolivia does not wish to interfere in any way with any existing procedures regarding his legal situation,” minister Choquehuanca assured.
The Argentine Foreign Minister had previously expressed the government’s uneasiness to his Bolivian counterpart.
“Due to this regrettable incident, I would like to express on behalf of my country how much we appreciate the Argentine government’s cooperation in order to leave this situation behind. Even though it represents a grave diplomatic incident, it only came to pass because his attendance was unbeknownst to some of us, and in no way we intended to hinder the excellent Argentine-Bolivian relations,” Choquehuanca’s letter read.
Vahídi’s visit to Bolivia had generated a strong reaction by the Argentine-Jewish community, who had expressed their concern through the AMIA and DAIA organizations. According to news agencies, Vahídi left Iran on Tuesday.
The Iranian official, whose attendance was not previously announced by the Foreign Ministry or the Ministry of Defence, took part in the anniversary celebrations of the Military Aviation School in Santa Cruz de la Sierra, addressing the press afterwards.
Vahídi was invited to attend a second event, but he did not attend.
Interpol issued an arrest warrant for Vahídi and five other Iranians and a Lebanese citizen in 2007 after a local court accused them of being involved in a terrorist attack against the Jewish community that left 85 people dead and over 300 injured in Buenos Aires in 1994.