Prosecutor probing secret Argentine-Iran deal ‘feared for life’
January 29, 2015 5 Comments
By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org
An Argentine state prosecutor, who probed an alleged secret pact between Argentina and Iran involving the bombing of Israeli targets in Buenos Aires, had expressed fears for his life just days before he was found dead. Alberto Nisman’s body was found on January 19 in the bathroom of his apartment, which had been locked from the inside. His death came hours before he was due to give Congressional testimony relating to his allegations that the government of Argentina had allowed Iranian agents to bomb Israeli targets in the country, in exchange for energy and defense deals.
Nisman had prompted international headlines shortly before his death, after he launched a criminal complaint against the President of Argentina, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, the country’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hector Timerman, and several other notable personalities of Argentine life. He accused them of having colluded with the government of Iran to bomb the Israeli embassy and a Jewish cultural center in Buenos Aires in the mid-1990s. A dozen people died in the bombing of the embassy, while another 85 were killed two years later, when the Asociación Mutual Israelita Argentina (AMIA) community center in the Argentine capital was bombed. Under the alleged deal, Tehran would be allowed to target the Jewish community in Buenos Aires in exchange for lucrative commercial deals with Argentina, involving oil and arms exports.
Argentine authorities say they believe Nisman killed himself with a single shot to the head from a .22 caliber handgun. His death occurred despite a 10-member police protection team that had been assigned to him by the Argentine government. The security detail was assigned to him following his claims that he had prepared a 300-page report on the matter of Iranian activities in Buenos Aires, which allegedly included material from wiretaps given to him by senior Argentine intelligence officials.
On Wednesday, Diego Lagomarsinoa, who was a close associate of Nisman, and the last known person to see him alive, said the prosecutor had confided in him that he feared for his safety, as well as for the safety of his family. He also allegedly said that he didn’t trust his police protection team. Speaking at a news conference in Buenos Aires, Lagomarsinoa said he had given Nisman the .22 caliber handgun that he is believed to have used to kill himself. He said he gave him the gun for protection. Lagomarsinoa, a computer expert, has been charged with providing a firearm to a non-registered individual, which is a criminal offense in Argentina. He is the only person to have been charged in Nisman’s death so far.