Argentina urges Iran help on Jewish center bombing

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UNITED NATIONS, Sep 26 (Reuters) Argentina's president urged the United Nations to persuade Iran to cooperate with a judicial probe into the deadly 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires.

Argentine prosecutors have accused former high-level Iranian officials of involvement in the attack, which killed 85 people. Interpol is weighing whether to issue arrest warrants in the case, in the face of Iran's objections.

Tehran has denied any role in the bombing.

''Up to now, unfortunately, the Islamic Republic of Iran has not provided all the collaboration needed by the Argentine justice system to clarify what occurred,'' President Nestor Kirchner told the UN General Assembly yesterday.

''We ask the Secretary General and all the world's nations that they intercede with Iran so it allows the judicial request to go forward. We are asking that (Iran) collaborate in the application of international legal norms to help arrive at the truth. Nothing more, nor nothing less,'' Kirchner said.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad spoke immediately after Kirchner but did not refer to the Argentine's comments.

Ahmadinejad focused instead on his standoff with the West over his country's nuclear ambitions, saying the issue was ''closed'' and was a matter to be handled by the UN watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency.

He also blasted the Israeli government, which he referred to as the ''illegal Zionist regime,'' over its treatment of Palestinians, and slammed the US military presence in Iraq.

The bombing of the AMIA Jewish center in Argentina occurred two years after an explosion destroyed the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires, killing 29 people.

Neither attack has been solved.

Reuters KK VP0552

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