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Argentina's Declassified Report Reveals Iran's Role in 1994 AMIA Bombing

June 24, 2024
Florencia Montaruli
6 min read
Argentina's judiciary has declassified a confidential intelligence report dated 2003, which reveals Iran's role in the 1994 bombing of the Argentine-Israeli Mutual Association (AMIA) headquarters in Buenos Aires
Argentina's judiciary has declassified a confidential intelligence report dated 2003, which reveals Iran's role in the 1994 bombing of the Argentine-Israeli Mutual Association (AMIA) headquarters in Buenos Aires
The report, drafted by the then Argentina's SIDE (State Intelligence Secretariat), gives precise details about how the Iranian regime planned, prepared, and attacked the AMIA headquarters in 1994
The report, drafted by the then Argentina's SIDE (State Intelligence Secretariat), gives precise details about how the Iranian regime planned, prepared, and attacked the AMIA headquarters in 1994
Thirty years after the attack on the headquarters of the Israeli mutual society AMIA in Buenos Aires, in July 1994, federal judge Ariel Lijo decided to declare public access to the report prepared by the then Argentina's SIDE
Thirty years after the attack on the headquarters of the Israeli mutual society AMIA in Buenos Aires, in July 1994, federal judge Ariel Lijo decided to declare public access to the report prepared by the then Argentina's SIDE
The document confirms that Iran was behind not only the attack on the AMIA but also the attack against the embassy of Israel in Buenos Aires, which occurred in 1992
The document confirms that Iran was behind not only the attack on the AMIA but also the attack against the embassy of Israel in Buenos Aires, which occurred in 1992
The 200-page information core report prepared by Toma and his team was delivered in 2003 to Judge Juan José Galeano, who was then leading the AMIA case
The 200-page information core report prepared by Toma and his team was delivered in 2003 to Judge Juan José Galeano, who was then leading the AMIA case
IranWire interviewed Miguel Angel Toma, former head of the SIDE, who prepared the document in 2003 while in charge of the Secretariat
IranWire interviewed Miguel Angel Toma, former head of the SIDE, who prepared the document in 2003 while in charge of the Secretariat

Argentina's judiciary has declassified a confidential intelligence report dated 2003, which reveals Iran's role in the 1994 bombing of the Argentine-Israeli Mutual Association (AMIA) headquarters in Buenos Aires.

The report, drafted by the then Argentina's SIDE (State Intelligence Secretariat), gives precise details about how the Iranian regime planned, prepared, and attacked the AMIA headquarters in 1994. 

The report, titled "Theme: A.M.I.A. the International Connection: The clarification of the terrorist attack and the individualization of its perpetrators", also presents details of Iran's matrix of cultural penetration in Argentina that served as a cover for the planning of the attack, as well as the presence of Hezbollah in Argentina and neighboring countries.

Thirty years after the attack on the headquarters of the Israeli mutual society AMIA in Buenos Aires, in July 1994, federal judge Ariel Lijo decided to declare public access to the report prepared by the then Argentina's SIDE (State Intelligence Secretariat).

IranWire interviewed Miguel Angel Toma, former head of the SIDE, who prepared the document in 2003 while in charge of the Secretariat. The document confirms that Iran was behind not only the attack on the AMIA but also the attack against the embassy of Israel in Buenos Aires, which occurred in 1992.

"We must differentiate two parts in this document. The first part is the central node, which has been declassified. It is a document of about 200 pages, which summarizes everything that, since 1994, the year of the attack, was added as an element related to it. The document contains details about the terrorist matrix of the Iranian regime, the company structure that Iran used in Argentina, the details of each of the mosques used as facades and the cultural penetration that Iran carried out in Argentina. All the elements that allowed the planning and execution of the attack," explains Toma.

"There is also a section on Hezbollah and its participation. Each of these elements incorporated into the report refers to a special folder comprising about 10,000 pages, which has not been declassified because it details names, sources, and work methodologies of the Intelligence Secretariat. All very sensitive information that, if declassified, would put the named persons in danger of death. But the existence of all these evidentiary elements makes this report not just another report, but one that could be incorporated into the case because it contains evidence for each of the statements," he adds.

Companies and Mosques as Facades

The former Head of Intelligence highlights that the report contains details of companies created as facades that served to plan the attack, the methodology of action, the role of the mosques, the Iranian intelligence structure, the role of the people who carried out the attack and their contacts in Paraguay, Brazil, and Chile, as well as each intricate decision on how the attack was carried out.

He also mentions Samuel El Reda, one of the leaders of the Hezbollah cell accused of the AMIA bombing, being present in Argentina. 

"We arrived at this document prepared with such precision and detail in 2003 by systematizing all the information we had up to that point and everything that had been investigated. The report was a milestone in my career as the head of Intelligence. I had an incredible quality of intelligence officers to carry out this report. It was difficult because we had to resolve all the internal problems that the Secretariat had when I took over. Still, I decided to do it because it was necessary to put things in order," Toma explains to IranWire.

When preparing the report, they included material provided by other intelligence services, such as the CIA and Mossad. "We also contribute material to the investigations of these services," he adds.

The 200-page information core report prepared by Toma and his team was delivered in 2003 to Judge Juan José Galeano, who was then leading the AMIA case.

"That report activated the Interpol red notices for five Iranians. But Judge Galeano made a mistake at that time. He requested the circular for five Iranian "citizens" when, in reality, they were not five ordinary citizens; they were five members of a state with a terrorist matrix that attacked the AMIA," Toma points out.

The red notices to which Toma refers are still active and aim to arrest five members of the Iranian regime: Mohsen Rezai, Ahmad Vahidi, Alí Fallahijan, Ahmad Reza Asghari, and Moshen Rabbani. Ahmad Vahidi is the current Minister of the Interior of the Islamic Republic of Iran, and Mohsen Rezai was Vice President of Economic Affairs of the Regime until 2023.

Report's Role in Alberto Nisman's Investigation

In 2004, a year after the presentation of the Intelligence document, prosecutor Alberto Nisman was appointed head of the AMIA Investigative Unit (UFI AMIA). Nisman relied on that report to develop and deepen his investigation. 

However, in 2010, a significant geopolitical shift occurred when the government of then-president Cristina Kirchner decided to move away from the West and align itself with Russia, China, and Iran. This shift profoundly impacted the investigation, as Argentine Foreign Minister Héctor Timerman contacted the Iranian Foreign Minister in the Syrian city of Aleppo and began what would become the Memorandum of Understanding with Iran.

Toma adds that it was at that moment when Nisman received intense pressure from a Kirchner government member, Carlos Zanini, to stop investigating Iran and asked him to start following the "Syrian clue" about Syria as being possibly responsible for the attack. "We know that this is a total inconsistency," adds Toma. "At that time, Cristina Kirchner's government carried out a "purge" in the Intelligence Secretariat, and prosecutor Nisman began to receive constant threats until his murder in January 2015."

In that "purge" to which Toma refers, the Kirchner government fires Antonio "Jaime" Stiuso from the Intelligence Secretariat. Stiuso is the agent Toma himself had placed in charge of the production and writing of the Intelligence report in 2003, now declassified, and who acted as an active collaborator during Nisman's investigation. 

"With the idea that Cristina Kirchner's government should align with Iran, everything that had been developed and worked on for so long had to be thrown away because it prevented them from advancing in that agreement with Iran. Imagine that it was impossible to make a memorandum with Iran if there was evidence to show that Iran was responsible for killing 85 Argentines in the Amia attack, plus those killed in the attack on the Israeli embassy, because it was the same structure and the same matrix in both attacks. Both refused to abandon the investigation and destroy the evidence. Nisman and Stiuso then became "stones in the shoe." Nisman ended up murdered, and Stiuso exiled in the United States," says Toma.

The report has existed for 20 years and narrates in detail what happened in the AMIA and the Israeli embassy attacks. 

"We have had the truth for a long time," Toma says, adding, "When Nisman died, everything came to nothing. Since 2019, the case has been inactive, and nothing has moved forward. Everything began to change with the recent ruling of the Federal Criminal Court by Judge Carlos Mahiques, which confirms this initial hypothesis that we investigated, narrated, and detailed more than 20 years ago." He continues, "That ruling by Judge Mahiques prompted this report to now have public access. We have known the truth for many years: Iran is responsible for the attack. I believe that if there is progress regarding the possibility of a trial in absentia, we will be able to confirm through justice that the Iranian regime planned and carried out this attack. There, the Interpol notices will acquire another value. We have the truth: Iran is a terrorist state, and in the report, that matrix is perfectly developed."

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