Argentine ex-president Kirchner charged in cover-up in 1994 Jewish community center bombing
In 1994, a Jewish-Argentine community center in Buenos Aires was bombed, killing 85 people. Since then, there have been several investigations by the Argentine government that have pointed the finger at Iran and Hezb'allah as the perpetrators.
Argentine politics has played a significant role in preventing the Iranian officials accused of the terrorist act of being brought to justice. Now, however, the former President, Christina Kirchner, has been brought up on charges of covering up Iranian involvement in the bombing.
The accusations come three years after an Argentine prosecutor, Alberto Nisman, who claimed to have evidence of a Kirchner cover-up of Iranian involvement, was killed under suspicious circumstances one day before he was to present his case.
Kirchner and her former foreign minister Hector Timerman and others in her 2007-2015 administration are accused of abuse of power and obstruction for signing a memorandum of understanding with Iran in 2012 that would have established a "truth commission" to investigate the bombing.
The case against them was opened in January 2015, on the basis of charges brought by Alberto Nisman, a prosecutor who was found dead in mysterious circumstances four days later.
Nisman had claimed that the memorandum of understanding was a maneuver to cover up for the involvement of Iran and Hezbollah in the attack.
The case languished after his death, but Bonadio reactivated it in August 2016.
Kirchner, who has denounced the charges against her as a political persecution, nonetheless has said she welcomes an open trial to prove her innocence.
This is an extraordinarily complex case. There have been several investigations since 1994, most of them implicating a Hezba'llah operative named Ibrahim Hussein Berro as the suicide bomber who carried out the attack, with the mastermind being a former Iranian defense minister, Ahmad Vahidi, a former commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Quds Force. But corruption, incompetence, and interference by the Kirchner government prevented trials of the Iranian perpetrators.
There is another theory of the bombing: that Argentine police and intelligence carried out the attack. But Israel's Mossad thinks otherwise; its agents have apparently carried out targeted assassinations on many of those accused in the bombing.
Kirchner's pro-Iranian policy during her administration was fairly popular in left-wing circles, and proving a cover-up will be difficult. But the former president, who is suspected of engineering Nisman's assassination, will not escape the judgment of history.