Iran rejects grilling of officials in Argentina bomb probe



Iran: Iran denied Tuesday that Iranians facing international arrest warrants for their alleged roles in the 1994 bombing of a Buenos Aires Jewish centre will be questioned by an Argentinian judge, as announced by Argentine's foreign minister.

"The matter of questioning of some of the Iranian officials is a sheer lie. It seems that those who are concerned by the actual agreement are spreading such reports," Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said at his weekly press conference.

Mehmanparast's remarks come after Argentine Foreign Minister Hector Timerman said that seven Iranians with international arrest warrants against them will be questioned by an Argentine judge in Tehran concerning the bombing.

Timerman had stressed that he had "made sure (Iran Defence Minister Ahmad Vahidi) will have to be present when the judge questioned them and he will be."

Last month Argentine President Cristina Kirchner announced an agreement with Iran to create an independent commission to investigate the bombing.

Argentina has long accused Iran of masterminding the attack and since 2006 has sought the extradition of eight Iranians, including former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and former foreign minister Ali Akbar Velayati, apart from Vahidi.

Iran has repeatedly denied involvement in the bombing which killed 85 people, and has refused to arrest the suspects.

Argentine Judge Rodolfo Canicoba Corral and prosecutor Alberto Nisman, the lead investigator into the attack, would come to Tehran to take the Iranians' testimony, according to Buenos Aires.

The negotiations have been criticised by Israel and Argentina's 300,000-strong Jewish community, the largest in Latin America.

Both have demanded there be no let-up in the Argentine authorities' efforts to put the Iranian suspects on trial.

Israel's foreign ministry has protested the agreement, while Washington has cast doubt that any solution will emerge from the deal.

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