Podcast

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.

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

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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.

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