BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) — Argentina and Iran reached a breakthrough Sunday in the investigation of a Jewish center bombing that killed 85 people in Buenos Aires 19 years ago, agreeing to establish an independent international "truth commission" led by a jurist "with high moral standing and legal prestige" to examine Argentina's worst terrorist attack.
The commissioners will examine the evidence and recommend how to proceed "based on the laws and regulations of both countries." Then, commissioners and Argentine investigators will travel to Teheran to question the suspects.
"Historic" was how President Cristina Fernandez described the agreement signed Sunday in Africa by foreign ministers Hector Timerman and Ali Akbar Salehi.
A van loaded with fertilizer and fuel oil was exploded on July 18, 1994, leveling the Argentine Israelite Mutual Association building. As with a separate attack that destroyed Israel's embassy in Buenos Aires two years earlier, killing 29, it has never been solved.
Argentine prosecutors have formally accused six Iranians of coordinating the AMIA attack under orders from their government. Among them is Iran's current defense minister, Ahmad Vahidi. The Argentines have spent years seeking to interrogate them with the help of Interpol, but Iran's government has refused until now to make them available.
Previous Argentine probes resulted "only in failures and scandal, with a trial that ended up being a farce" after high-level officials were accused of covering up evidence and deliberately misdirecting investigators, Fernandez said in a series of tweets.