Source AP ©

Iran accuses Interpol of succumbing to U.S. and Israeli pressure

Iran accused Interpol of submitting to the influence of the U.S. and Israel because five Iranians were added to Interpol most-wanted list for bombing a Jewish center in Argentina in 1994.

Iranian envoys had lobbied the international coordinating agency heavily to avoid having their country linked to the bombing, but delegates voted to add the names 76-14 on Wednesday, with 26 abstentions.

"It was expected that this professional body should not have weakened its legal character, professional position and credit by accepting the political will of the Zionist regime (Israel)," Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad Ali Hosseini said Thursday in a statement, a copy of which was sent to The Associated Press.

Hosseini accused both the U.S. and Israel of putting pressure on Interpol, saying their alleged behavior was "against international legal measures and unacceptable."

The Iranians targeted by Interpol included former intelligence chief Ali Fallahian; Mohsen Rabbani, former cultural attach  at Iran's embassy in Buenos Aires; a former diplomat, Ahmad Reza Asghari; Mohsen Rezaei, former head of the Revolutionary Guards; and Ahmad Vahidi, a Revolutionary Guards general. Lebanese Hezbollah militant Imad Moughnieh, one of the world's most sought terrorism suspects, also was named.

The decision to issue Interpol "red notices" is the equivalent of putting the six men on its most-wanted list.

Bombing of Jewish center in Argentina in 1994(spanish
Bombing of Jewish center in Argentina in 1994(spanish
The notices cannot force countries to arrest or extradite suspects, but can put government leaders on the spot for letting suspects move freely.

No one has been brought to justice for the bombing at the Jewish community center in Argentina's capital, Buenos Aires. A van packed with explosives exploded on July 18, 1994 , leveling the seven-story building while killing 85 people and wounding 200.

Argentine prosecutors contend the plot was hatched at a 1993 meeting in Mashad , Iran , and the Lebanon-based militant group Hezbollah was entrusted with carrying it out. They say witness accounts, other testimony and telephone and travel documents prove the meeting occurred.

Iranian envoys said they have evidence showing such a meeting never took place.

Two years ago Interpol sided with Iran in the same case, after the Argentine judge then leading the investigation was fired for "having acted corruptly," Interpol said in a statement.

Prosecutor Alberto Nisman, who took over the investigation and bolstered the evidence file, issued the new arrest warrants for the six men in Argentina . Interpol's executive committee backed his case in March and Wednesday's vote by the assembly overruled an objection by Iran .

Hosseini said Iran would continue to defend the wanted men despite the Argentine arrest warrants.

The dispute is steeped in geopolitical drama at a time of high tension between Iran and the West over Tehran 's suspect nuclear program and U.S. claims that Iran is supplying weapons to insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan - claims that the Islamic Republic denies.

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