ARGENTINE COURT ISSUE INTERNATIONAL WARRANT AGAINST KHAMENEH’I

PARIS 23 Feb. (IPS) An Argentine court has issued an international warrant against the leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khameneh'i, wanting him for his part in the explosion, on July 1994, of the Argentinean Jewish Centre in Buenos Aires, according to the Persian service of Radio France International (RFI).

The explosion that rocked the building killed 85 people, most of them Argentinean Jews, and left about 100 wounded, was immediately blamed on Iranian and Lebanese fundamentalists ordered, by Tehran.

The Iranian government organised and carried out the bombing of the centre and then paid Argentina's president at the time, Carlos Saúl Menem, $10 million to cover it up, The News York Times reported last year, quoting a well-informed Iranian Intelligence defector named Abdolqasem Mesbahi.

Mr. Mesbahi said the planning for the attack in Buenos Aires began in 1992, led by Mohsen Rabbani, the cultural attaché at the Iranian Embassy at the time, and supervised by Hamid Naghashan, a senior official of the Iranian Intelligence Ministry.

Quoting the Buenos Aires daily "La Nacion", the service said Sunday that en plus of Mr. Khameneh'i, some 20 other high-ranking Iranian officials, including diplomats, like Mr. Hadi Soleyman Poor and Hojjatoleslam Mohsen Rabbani, respectively the Ambassador and the Cultural attaché at the time of explosion, as well as Mr. Imad Muqnyeh, who is in charge of the intelligence department of the Iran-backed Lebanese Hezbollah, are also incriminated and sought after by Interpol.

As usual, the Iranian Foreign Affairs Ministry denied the claims, blaming some un-named "circles" to seek harming the image of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Mr. Sa’id Mahmoodi, a professor of international law at Swedish universities, said since the Iranian ambassador and the cultural charge have finished their missions, therefore they could face international search and warrant.

"As far as Mr. Khameneh'i is concerned, since he is the leader of the Islamic Republic, he enjoys full immunity, but the day he steps down, or is removed, then he can face immediately the same fate as Milosevic (the former Yugoslav president, who is in prison at The Hague), in case that Argentine courts could prove his participation, or even his knowledge, of the explosion", Mr. Mahmoodi noted.

He said the decision to issue an international warrant against Mr. Khameneh'i belongs to the Argentine government, like Germany did against Hojjatoleslam Ali Fallahian, Iran’s Intelligence Minister under the presidency of Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, on 1997. ENDS KHAMENEH'I WANTED 23203