Argentina, Iran, and the Enduring Mystery Surrounding the Death of a Special Prosecutor

On the podcast: Alberto Nisman accused Argentina’s president of covering up Iran’s role in the 1994 bombing of a Jewish center in Buenos Aires. Then he was shot in the head.

By , the executive editor for news and podcasts at Foreign Policy.
Emergency personnel search for wounded people after a bomb exploded at the Jewish Community Center in Buenos Aires on July 18, 1994.
Emergency personnel search for wounded people after a bomb exploded at the Jewish Community Center in Buenos Aires on July 18, 1994.
Emergency personnel search for wounded people after a bomb exploded at the Jewish Community Center in Buenos Aires on July 18, 1994. ALI BURAFI/AFP/Getty Images

Listen and subscribe to First Person from your mobile device:

Via Apple Podcasts | Via Google | Via Spotify | Via Stitcher

Twenty-five years ago this month, a car bomb blew up the Jewish Community Center of Buenos Aires, known by its acronym AMIA, killing 85 people and wounding hundreds more. It was the deadliest terrorist attack in Argentina's history.

Listen and subscribe to First Person from your mobile device:

Via Apple Podcasts | Via Google | Via Spotify | Via Stitcher

Twenty-five years ago this month, a car bomb blew up the Jewish Community Center of Buenos Aires, known by its acronym AMIA, killing 85 people and wounding hundreds more. It was the deadliest terrorist attack in Argentina’s history.

In investigations over the years, Iran and its surrogate militia Hezbollah emerged as prime suspects, but no one was ever convicted. Iran has denied the accusations.

In 2015, Argentina’s special prosecutor, Alberto Nisman, publicly accused the then-president, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, of covering up Iran’s role in the attack in order to preserve relations between the two countries. Nisman was found dead just days later. The circumstances of his death remain a mystery to this day.

Damian Pachter wrote extensively about the AMIA bombing and the subsequent investigations as a journalist for the now defunct Buenos Aires Herald. He was the first person to report the death of Nisman, and then he fled to Israel, worried that he might be targeted by Argentina’s intelligence agency. Pachter, currently a correspondent at the news channel i24NEWS, is our guest on First Person this week.

More from Foreign Policy

A worker cuts the nose off the last Ukraine's Tupolev-22M3, the Soviet-made strategic aircraft able to carry nuclear weapons at a military base in Poltava, Ukraine on Jan. 27, 2006. A total of 60 aircraft were destroyed  according to the USA-Ukrainian disarmament agreement.
A worker cuts the nose off the last Ukraine's Tupolev-22M3, the Soviet-made strategic aircraft able to carry nuclear weapons at a military base in Poltava, Ukraine on Jan. 27, 2006. A total of 60 aircraft were destroyed according to the USA-Ukrainian disarmament agreement.

Why Do People Hate Realism So Much?

The school of thought doesn’t explain everything—but its proponents foresaw the potential for conflict over Ukraine long before it erupted.

Employees watch a cargo ship at a port in China, which is experiencing an economic downturn.
Employees watch a cargo ship at a port in China, which is experiencing an economic downturn.

China’s Crisis of Confidence

What if, instead of being a competitor, China can no longer afford to compete at all?

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell testifies in the U.S. Senate in Washington on Sept. 24, 2020.
Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell testifies in the U.S. Senate in Washington on Sept. 24, 2020.

Why This Global Economic Crisis Is Different

This is the first time since World War II that there may be no cooperative way out.

Chinese President Xi Jinping (left) and Premier Li Keqiang applaud at the closing session of the National People's Congress at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on March 11.
Chinese President Xi Jinping (left) and Premier Li Keqiang applaud at the closing session of the National People's Congress at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on March 11.

China Is Hardening Itself for Economic War

Beijing is trying to close economic vulnerabilities out of fear of U.S. containment.