( AP ) - Iran accused five Argentines with falsely implicating a group of Iranians in the 1994 terrorist bombing of a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires, state IRNA news agency said Tuesday.
Tehran ordered the five who live in Argentina to appear in an Iranian court. The action came a week after Interpol put four Iranians and one Lebanese man on its most-wanted list for the 1994 blast that killed 85 people and wounded 200. The move was in response to a request from Argentina.
IRNA, in a report carried on its English-language Web site, said the five Argentines who must appear at the Tehran Justice Department are former Interior Minister Carlos Corach; president of the Jewish center Ruben Beraja; Judge Juan Jose Galeano; prosecutor Eamon Mullen and a fifth man, identified only as Jose Barbaccia.
The report cited Iranian Deputy Prosecutor General, Yadollah Alizadeh, as saying Iran would demand Interpol issue arrest warrants for them if they do not appear.
IRNA said the men have been "notified by the Argentine justice system to attend" a hearing in Tehran to "hear the charges against them."
No one has been brought to justice for the July 18, 1994 bombing at the center when an explosives-laden van detonated, leveling the seven-story building.
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.
Iran says it has evidence showing such a meeting never took place and pledged this week to defend the wanted Iranians, despite the Argentine arrest warrants. Iran also accused Interpol of bowing to U.S. and Israeli pressure to issue the warrants.
Interpol can not force countries to arrest or extradite suspects, but can put government leaders on the spot for letting suspects move freely.
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.