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Iran's President Khatami Snubs Argentine President: Press

Iranian President Mohammad Khatami refused to meet Argentine President Nestor Kirchner, whose country has accused Tehran of involvement in the bombing of a Jewish center in Buenos Aires, IRNA reported from Tehran on Sunday quoting the press.

The English-language daily Tehran Times quoted an unnamed source as saying that Khatami had said 'he would not meet him (Kirchner) until Buenos Aires formally apologizes to Tehran for falsely charging Iranian diplomats with involvement in the bombing of the AMIA Jewish community center in 1994'.

"The Argentine president had wanted to hold talks with Khatami on the expansion of bilateral ties," the paper added, reporting on the events on the sidelines of the two-day Group of 15 summit meeting of developing countries in Caracas on Friday and Saturday.

Khatami also asked Buenos Aires to 'make up for the damage' which it has inflicted by tainting Tehran's image in the international scene through implicating it in the bombing, which killed 85 people, Tehran Times said.

Argentine prosecutors have issued arrest warrants for several Iranian diplomats, including the Islamic Republic's former ambassador to Buenos Aires, Hadi Soleimanpour.

The decision has angered Iran, which strongly denies any involvement in the bombing. Tehran severed cultural and economic ties with Argentina last August.

Meanwhile, Soleimanpour was detained in northern England in August last year by British police on the order of Argentina's Judge Juan Jose Galeano, but was released later by a court order for the lack of evidence.

According to Tehran Times, Judge Galeano was also removed on December 3 by the Argentine federal court after the country's intelligence agents found that he had paid dlrs 400,000 to a car dealer, identified as Carlos Telledin, to testify against Soleimanpour at the court.

... Payvand News - 2/29/04 ... --

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