Politics

Interpol Red Notices Renewed for Five Iranian Officials

June 8, 2022
Florencia Montaruli
2 min read
Clockwise from top: Ali Fallahian, Mohsen Rezaei, Ahmad Vahidi, Ahmad Reza Asghari and Mohsen Rabbani
Clockwise from top: Ali Fallahian, Mohsen Rezaei, Ahmad Vahidi, Ahmad Reza Asghari and Mohsen Rabbani

A week ago on Wednesday, June 1, an Argentine justice renewed five Interpol red notices for Iranians wanted in connection with the AMIA bombing in Buenos Aires in July 1994.

The notices expire every five years, and the current ones had been due to run out in November 7. The intervention of Judge Daniel Rafecas of Federal Court 6 will keep them in place until November 27, 2027, official sources confirmed to IranWire.

The red notices were first issued in 2006. After the death of one of the original targets and the nullifying of three others a year later, they remain in force for Mohsen Rezaei, an ex-IRGC commander and Iran’s current vice president in charge of economic affairs, Ahmad Vahidi, the current Minister of Interior.

Other still-wanted men are Ali Fallahian, a former intelligence minister, Ahmad Reza Asghari, a former diplomat at the Iranian embassy in Buenos Aires, and Mohsen Rabbani, an Iranian cleric based in Buenos Aires. The latter has returned to Iran and has long been considered the main architect of the bombing, which led to the deaths of 85 people, as well as the Iranian regime’s cultural infiltration plan of Argentina from the late 1980s onward.

Interpol's red notices are the mechanism by which any one of its 195 member states can inform the others it is looking to apprehend a particular person, either because they committed a crime or because they are accused, and request they be detained in another jurisdiction. Interpol itself does not make the requests but only reviews and disseminates them.  "A red notice is not an international arrest warrant," the body affirms even on its website.

Red notices should place significant limitations on a wanted person's freedom of movement. But beyond the network, any arrests tend to depend on the political relations between countries.

Tehran has always denied involvement in the AMIA bombing and appealed against the issuance of the first red notices in November 2006; certain key figures including ex-president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and Ali Akbar Velayati, the Supreme Leader’s foreign affairs advisor, were ultimately let off the hook.

The AMIA red notices also gave rise to the former Argentine government’s disastrous pact with Tehran in 2013. In 2015, the late prosecutor Alberto Nisman stated that the Iran memorandum had hidden an attempt to lift the red notices weighing on the primary accused, hindering the course of the investigation. 

Last November, despite the Interpol red notice,  Mohsen Rezaei led a delegation to Nicaragua for the fourth swearing-in of Sandinista dictator Daniel Ortega. Nicaragua is a member of Interpol but made no move to apprehend Rezaei or even stop him from attending the assembly. The situation was made worse by the fact that Daniel Capitanich, the Argentine ambassador to Nicaragua, was present at the same event, and took more than 24 hours to react.

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