H.Con.Res. 156 (111th): Condemning the attack on the AMIA Jewish Community Center in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in July 1994, and for other purposes.

The text of the bill below is as of Jul 20, 2009 (Referred to Senate Committee).

Source: GPO

III

111th CONGRESS

1st Session

H. CON. RES. 156

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

July 20, 2009

Received and referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations

CONCURRENT RESOLUTION

Condemning the attack on the AMIA Jewish Community Center in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in July 1994, and for other purposes.

Whereas, on July 18, 1994, 85 people were killed and 300 were wounded when the Argentine Jewish Mutual Association (AMIA) was bombed in Buenos Aires, Argentina;

Whereas extensive evidence links the planning of the attacks to the Government of Iran, and the execution of the attacks to Hezbollah, which is based in Lebanon, supported by Syria, sponsored by Iran, and designated by the Department of State as a Foreign Terrorist Organization;

Whereas, on October 25, 2006, the State Prosecutor of Argentina, an office created by the Government of Argentina, concluded that the AMIA bombing was decided and organized by the highest leaders of the former government of * * * Iran, whom, at the same time, entrusted its execution to the Lebanese terrorist group Hezbollah;

Whereas, on October 25, 2006, the State Prosecutor of Argentina concluded that the AMIA bombing had been approved in advance by Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamene'i, Iran's then-leader Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, Iran's then-Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Velayati, and Iran's then-Minister of Security and Intelligence Ali Fallahijan;

Whereas, on October 25, 2006, the State Prosecutor of Argentina stated that the Government of Iran uses terrorism as a mechanism of its foreign policy in support of its final aim [which] is to export its radicalized vision of Islam and to eliminate the enemies of the regime;

Whereas, on October 25, 2006, the State Prosecutor of Argentina identified Ibrahim Hussein Berro, a Lebanese citizen and member of Hezbollah, as the suicide bomber who primarily carried out the attack on the AMIA;

Whereas, on November 9, 2006, Argentine Judge Rodolfo Canicoba Corral, pursuant to the request of the State Prosecutor of Argentina, issued an arrest warrant for Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, a former leader of Iran and the current chairman of Iran's Assembly of Experts and of Iran's Expediency Council, for his involvement in the AMIA bombing and urged the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL) to issue an international arrest warrant for Rafsanjani and detain him;

Whereas, on November 9, 2006, Argentine Judge Rodolfo Canicoba Corral, pursuant to the request of the State Prosecutor of Argentina, also issued arrest warrants for Ali Fallahijan, a former Iranian Minister of Security and Intelligence, Ali Akbar Velayati, a former Iranian Foreign Minister, Mohsen Rezaei, a former commander of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), Ahmad Vahidi, a former commander of the elite Al-Quds Force of the IRGC, Hadi Soleimanpour, a former Iranian ambassador to Argentina, Mohsen Rabbani, a former cultural attaché at the Iranian Embassy in Buenos Aires, Ahmad Reza Asghari, a former official at the Iranian Embassy in Buenos Aires, and Imad Moughnieh, a leading operations chief of Hezbollah;

Whereas, on March 5, 2007, the Executive Committee of INTERPOL unanimously supported the issuance of Red Notices for Hezbollah operative Imad Moughnieh and for Iranian officials Ali Fallahijan, Mohsen Rezaei, Ahmad Vahidi, Mohsen Rabbani, and Ahmad Reza Asgari, thereby allowing arrest warrants for those individuals to be circulated worldwide with an eye to their arrest and extradition;

Whereas, on November 7, 2007, the General Assembly of INTERPOL upheld the Executive Committee's decision to support the issuance of six Red Notices in connection to the AMIA case;

Whereas, on February 12, 2008, Hezbollah operative Imad Moughnieh reportedly was killed in Syria;

Whereas in June of 2008, the Government of Saudi Arabia hosted an international Muslim conference that was reportedly attended by Iranian officials Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, against whom an Argentine arrest warrant has been issued, and Mohsen Rezaei, against whom both an Argentine arrest warrant and INTERPOL Red Notice have been issued;

Whereas the Government of Saudi Arabia reportedly made no attempt to detain or arrest Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani or Mohsen Rezaei during their time in Saudi Arabia, and the two departed Saudi Arabia without incident;

Whereas, on May 22, 2008, Argentine prosecutor Alberto Nisman filed a request with Argentine Judge Ariel Lijo for the arrest of Carlos Saul Menem, who was president of Argentina at the time of the AMIA bombing, and four other former Argentine high officials in connection with the AMIA case;

Whereas Mr. Nisman claimed in his request for an arrest warrant that Menem and the other four officials had attempted to cover up the involvement of a Syrian-Argentine businessman, Alberto Jacinto Kanoore Edul, in the AMIA bombing;

Whereas Argentine investigators have stated that prior to the AMIA bombing, Mr. Kanoore Edul was in contact with at least two men who have been identified as suspects in the AMIA case;

Whereas, on December 16, 2008, at the AMIA Special Prosecutor's request, the presiding Argentine judge in a civil suit against the Iranian suspects and Hezbollah ordered the attachment of six commercial properties in Argentina allegedly owned by former Iran cultural attaché and named suspect Mohsen Rabbani;

Whereas in December of 2008, the judge also requested that select European governments freeze up to $1 million in bank accounts allegedly belonging to former Iranian leader Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and another Iranian accused of involvement in the attacks;

Whereas between October of 2008 and March of 2009, nearly a dozen Iranian properties have reportedly been seized in the Buenos Aires area in connection with a civil suit presented by an unnamed survivor of the AMIA bombing;

Whereas in May of 2009, former IRGC commander Mohsen Rezaei, against whom both an Argentine arrest warrant and an INTERPOL Red Notice have been issued, announced his intention to seek the leadership of Iran;

Whereas in May 2009, Argentina issued an international arrest warrant for Samuel Salman El Reda, a Colombian citizen of Lebanese descent who Argentine prosecutor Alberto Nisman believes was the top local connection in the AMIA attack;

Whereas Mr. Nisman believes El Reda had connections to Hezbollah and the Tri-Border area, a zone between Argentina, Paraguay, and Brazil suspected of being a haven for Islamic radical groups;

Whereas during the past several years, the Government of Argentina has made significant advances in the AMIA investigation and other counter-terrorism efforts;

Whereas the issuance of an Argentine arrest warrant for an attaché of the Iranian Embassy in Argentina in connection with the AMIA case, indicates that Iran has used its embassies abroad as tools and extensions of radical Islamist goals and attacks;

Whereas, on January 27, 2009, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said, “I’m concerned about the level of * * * subversive activity that the Iranians are carrying on in a number of places in Latin America * * * They’re opening a lot of offices and a lot of fronts, behind which they interfere in what is going on in some of these countries.”; and

Whereas, on March 17, 2009, Navy Admiral James Stavridis, Commander, United States Southern Command, indicated that he shared Secretary Gates’s concern, explaining We have seen * * * an increase in a wide level of activity by the Iranian government in this region * * * That is a concern principally because of the connections between the government of Iran, which is a state sponsor of terrorism, and Hezbollah: Now, therefore, be it

That Congress—

(1)

reiterates its strongest condemnation of the 1994 attack on the Argentine Jewish Mutual Association (AMIA) Jewish Community Center in Buenos Aires, Argentina, honors the victims of this attack, and expresses its sympathy to the relatives of the victims;

(2)

applauds the Government of Argentina for its ongoing efforts in the AMIA bombing investigation;

(3)

urges the Government of Argentina to continue to dedicate and provide the resources necessary for its judicial system and intelligence agencies to investigate all areas of the AMIA case and to prosecute those responsible;

(4)

expresses grave concern regarding the Government of Saudi Arabia's failure, when given the opportunity, to detain Iranian officials against whom Argentine arrest warrants or INTERPOL Red Notices are pending in connection with the AMIA case;

(5)

urges all responsible nations to cooperate fully with the AMIA investigation, including by making information, witnesses, and suspects available for review and questioning by the appropriate Argentine authorities, and by detaining and extraditing to Argentina, if given the opportunity, any persons against whom Argentine arrest warrants or INTERPOL Red Notices are pending in connection with the AMIA case, including Iranian officials and former officials, Hezbollah operatives, and Islamist militants;

(6)

encourages the President to direct United States law enforcement agencies to provide support and cooperation to the Government of Argentina, if requested, for the purposes of deepening and expanding the investigation into the AMIA bombing; and

(7)

urges governments in the Western Hemisphere, who have not done so already, to draft, adopt, and implement legislation designating Hezbollah as a terrorist organization, banning fundraising and recruitment activities, and applying the harshest penalties on those providing support for activities involving Hezbollah and other such extremist groups.

Passed the House of Representatives July 17, 2009.

Lorraine C. Miller,

Clerk.