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Iran summons Argentine diplomat over bombing row

Written by: Staff
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TEHRAN, Nov 19 (Reuters) Iran has summoned Argentina's charge d'affaires to protest against an Argentine request for the arrest of a former Iranian president over the 1994 bombing of a Jewish centre in Buenos Aires, state television reported today.

An Argentine diplomat confirmed charge d'affaires Mario Quinteros had been summoned to the Foreign Ministry yesterday but did not give details.

The summons is the latest move in a spat over the bombing of the Jewish centre that killed 85 people and which has been fuelled by fresh Argentine accusations that Iranian officials planned it.

Argentine federal Judge Rodolfo Canicoba Corral this month ordered an international warrant for the arrest of former Iranian President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and eight other Iranians on charges of masterminding the attack.

''Iran expressed its strong protest against the Argentine judge's irresponsible act regarding issuing such a warrant,'' state television said, adding the move was ''against legal and judicial procedure''.

Iranian Foreign Ministry official Safarali Eslamian told the charge d'affaires: ''The support of America and Israel for this judge's act clearly indicates an under the table deal to incriminate Iran,'' state television reported.

Iran has repeatedly denied any link to the bombing and has previously blamed its two sworn enemies, the United States and Israel, for trying to implicate the Islamic Republic.

Argentina's Foreign Ministry on Monday asked Iran's charge d'affaires to explain reports that a top Iranian prosecutor had demanded arrest warrants for Argentine officials. He was also handed a letter rejecting Iranian criticism of the probe.

In the 1994 attack, a truck with explosives levelled the seven-floor Argentine Israeli Mutual Association building, a symbol of the country's Jewish community -- Latin America's largest.

REUTERS MQA BS1946

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