BUENOS AIRES, February 28 - RAPSI, Oleg Vyazmitinov. The Argentinean parliament has ratified the memorandum of understanding signed with Iran on January 27 to undertake a joint investigation into the Jewish community center explosion in Buenos Aires in 1994.
Argentina blames a number of high-ranking Iranian officials for organizing the biggest terrorist attack in the country's history, in which 85 people were killed and over 200 injured. Among those it suspects of involvement in the bombing are President Hashemi Rafsanjani and seven former members of the Iranian government.
Iran has always denied any involvement in the explosion at the Asociacion Mutual Israelita Argentina (AMIA, Israeli-Argentine Mutual Aid Association).
Argentina's lower house ratified the memo after nearly 14 hours of debates: 131 MPs voted for and 113 against, after Senate voted 39-31 to approve the MOU on Thursday.
Members of the influential Argentinean Jewish community, the largest in Latin America, denounced the document as "unconstitutional," saying that it was designed "to whitewash the Iranian regime" and "to ensure that the attack's organizers go unpunished."
Pro-governmental MPs and Foreign Minister Hector Timerman defended the MOU in parliament, saying that it would help solve the AMIA bombing.
Israel earlier demanded that Argentina explain why it signed the MOU with Iran. It said that the establishment of an Iranian-Argentinean truth commission would only hinder the course of justice.
The Argentinean authorities refused to provide any explanations and called these comments inappropriate.