Argentina approves deal with Iran to investigate deadly 1994 bombing
February 28, 2013 -- Updated 1519 GMT (2319 HKT)
(File photo) A man walks over the rubble after a bomb exploded at the Israeli Mutual Association in Buenos Aires, 18 July 1994.
- Argentina's congress approves an agreement with Iran about a 1994 terrorist attack
- Argentina has blamed Iran for the Jewish community center bombing, which killed 85 people
- The agreement will create a truth commission to clarify the facts
- The measure had plenty of opposition because the verdict will be nonbinding
Buenos Aires (CNN) -- Argentine lawmakers approved an agreement with Iran that will create a five-member commission to investigate the deadly 1994 bombing of a Buenos Aires Jewish community center.
The measure passed by a 131-113 vote early Thursday after more than 14 hours of debate.
The 1994 attack -- the worst in Argentina's history -- killed 85 people and injured about 300.
Iran hints at new evidence in 1994 Jewish center bombing
Prosecutors in Argentina allege that Iran was behind the attack, but a criminal investigation has stalled, in part because Iran denies the charges and has not made the accused available to prosecutors.
Argentina requested the arrest of several Iranians in 2007 in connection with the bombing, including the current defense minister of Iran, Ahmad Vahidi. Interpol approved so-called Red Notices for these suspects, alerting countries around the world of Buenos Aires' desire to have them arrested.
Seeking a way around the impasse, Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner drafted an agreement with Iran that would create a "truth commission" and allow the judge and prosecutor in the criminal proceedings to interrogate the accused Iranians.
The government heralded the agreement as a way to find out what happened in 1994.
But the deal had much opposition, including from Jewish groups in Argentina, because the verdict of the commission would be nonbinding. There was also a feeling of mistrust in engaging in a sensitive agreement like this with Iran, a country whose president has denied the Holocaust.
"This is a memorandum that is not clear, that is not complete and that we feel doesn't bring any benefit to the cause," Julio Schlosser, president of the Jewish umbrella organization DAIA, said before the vote.
The deal does not provide a timetable for the commission to form or to hand down a judgment, or provide specifics about the interrogation of the accused Iranians, he said.
The agreement already had the senate's approval, and now becomes law.
It calls for a commission of five international jurists charged with unraveling what was behind the bombing.
"I negotiated this memorandum with who I had to, not with who I wanted to," Argentine Foreign Minister Hector Timerman said. "At each step, I kept in mind that us Argentinians learned with lots of pain that we have to seek justice and not condemnations, to seek the truth and not vengeance."
Opposition lawmaker Pablo Tonelli expressed his disappointment with the measure, telling the state-run Telam news agency that "Argentina will gain nothing from this investigation. The accused will remain free from the arrest warrants issued by Interpol."
Part of complete coverage on
Syrian refugees fleeing into Lebanon tell CNN's Nick Paton Walsh how they stepped over dead bodies in their flight -- and now face the a biting winter.
December 11, 2013 -- Updated 1629 GMT (0029 HKT)
It looked plausible to most, but to deaf people watching the Mandela memorial -- it was all nonsense. The interpreter has been dubbed "a fake."
December 11, 2013 -- Updated 1524 GMT (2324 HKT)
Pope Francis is Time's person of the year. His papacy has drawn adulation from people around the world for his man-of-the-people ways.
December 11, 2013 -- Updated 0541 GMT (1341 HKT)
They hoped for playful weekend outing in the snow. The moments of adventure dissolved into a fight for survival for the family of six.
December 12, 2013 -- Updated 1023 GMT (1823 HKT)
Yahoo's teen star Nick D'Aloisio sells the new digital future -- with vanishing content.
December 11, 2013 -- Updated 1328 GMT (2128 HKT)
Denmark's PM Helle Thorning-Schmidt made headlines when she snapped a selfie with PM David Cameron and President Barack Obama.
December 11, 2013 -- Updated 1311 GMT (2111 HKT)
Mars kits, a triple nipple baby bottle and extinct animal DNA are just some of things you'd find inside the "99¢ Store of the Future."
December 11, 2013 -- Updated 0958 GMT (1758 HKT)
They say necessity is the mother of invention. Here are 11 of the most mind-boggling inventions ever submitted to the U.S. patent office.
December 11, 2013 -- Updated 0242 GMT (1042 HKT)
Uruguay is set to become the first country in the world to have a system regulating legal production, sale and consumption of the drug.
December 9, 2013 -- Updated 2311 GMT (0711 HKT)
Until he returned home this weekend, Merrill Newman -- an American held in North Korea -- had no idea what a story he'd become.
December 11, 2013 -- Updated 1756 GMT (0156 HKT)
Browse through images you don't always see in news reports, taken by CNN teams all around the world.
He was imprisoned for life but that did not quiet him. Nelson Mandela became South Africa's first black president, and an icon and inspiration.
Today's five most popular stories