Argentina and Nisman: Why we’re not surprised

When Alberto Nisman announced that he had evidence that President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner and Foreign Minister Alfredo Timmerman had conducted secret negotiations with the Iranian government to absolve key Iranian officials in the AMIA bombing it wasn't difficult to believe. Granted, the evidence wasn't that strong, but the plan announced in 2013 to create a Truth Commission with Iran to investigate the bombing always seemed a little suspicious.


  • Christopher Sabatini

    Dr. Christopher Sabatini, is a senior fellow for Latin America at Chatham House, and was formerly a lecturer in the School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) at Columbia University. Chris is also on the advisory boards of Harvard University’s LASPAU, the Advisory Committee for Human Rights Watch's Americas Division, and of the Inter-American Foundation. He is also an HFX Fellow at the Halifax International Security Forum. He is a frequent contributor to policy journals and newspapers and appears in the media and on panels on issues related to Latin America and foreign policy. Chris has testified multiple times before the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives. In 2015, Chris founded and directed a new research non-profit, Global Americas and edited its news and opinion website. From 2005 to 2014 Chris was senior director of policy at the Americas Society and Council of the Americas (AS/COA) and the founder and editor-in-chief of the hemispheric policy magazine Americas Quarterly (AQ). At the AS/COA, Dr. Sabatini chaired the organization’s rule of law and Cuba working groups. Prior to that, he was director for Latin America and the Caribbean at the National Endowment for Democracy, and a diplomacy fellow with the American Association for the Advancement of Science, working at the US Agency for International Development’s Center for Democracy and Governance. He provides regular interviews for major media outlets, and has a PhD in Government from the University of Virginia.

In January 2013, when Argentina’s Foreign Minister Hector Timerman announced a deal to form a truth commission with Iran to investigate the 1994 bombing of the Israeli-Argentine Mutual Association (AMIA) center that killed 85 people, it was hard not be suspicious. If the mere fact that by that time, almost 19 years after the country’s worst terrorist act in history, prosecutors still had failed produce a conviction didn’t raise eyebrows, then the Argentine government’s bizarre plan to form a truth commission with the government charged with financing and supporting the attack (which included the Iran’s defense minister) seemed deeply troubling.

When Argentina’s lead prosecutor in the case, Alberto Nisman, announced in January this year that his investigation had implicated President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner and Foreign Minister Timerman in the deal to cover up Iran’s involvement in the plot in exchange for market access for Argentine exports the charges did not seem far fetched. After all, what serious government would establish a truth commission with the participation of the accused?

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