The incident has been widely attributed to Hezbollah operatives working in concert with Iran. Early in 2015, Argentine state prosecutor Alberto Nisman was scheduled to present evidence apparently demonstrating Iran’s culpability when he was found dead from a gunshot wound in his apartment. The incident evoked a bevy of suspicions that the government of then-President Cristina Kirchner had been protecting Iran.
Now JSpace News is reporting that telephone recordings of Hector Timerman, who served as foreign minister in the Kirchner government, reveal that he personally acknowledged Iran’s culpability in 2012. The recordings lend credence to accusations regarding a conspiracy of silence, and their release is likely indicative of a change in the relationship between Iran and Argentina under its new president.
It is remarkable to see any country taking a harder line on Iran in the midst of current circumstances, as the July 14 nuclear agreement between Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany has led to the US and many of its allies pursuing a policy of rapprochement with the Islamic Republic.
Of course, some countries other than Argentina have pushed back against this trend, as a result of internal policy, changing conditions, or both. Saudi Arabia, for instance, has been stuck between its status as Iran’s main regional rival and one of the chief US allies in the Middle East. As such, Iran and Saudi Arabia have appeared to go vacillate between forced reconciliation and increased belligerence.
The most recent report from Breitbart indicates that the two adversaries are on the verge of being brought together in direct dialogue as a result of UN-brokered peace talks over the civil war in Yemen, which is largely a Saudi-Iranian proxy war. But this process now appears to be in danger in the wake of several breaches of a Yemeni cease fire, including most recently a rocket attack inside Saudi territory by the Iran-allied Houthi rebels.
The latest incident resulted in the death of one Saudi and two Indian migrant workers, and it came shortly after the Saudis completed the organization of an “anti-terror” coalition of Middle Eastern states excluding Iran. New Houthi attacks may convince the members of that coalition that it is in their interest to expand their efforts against the Houthi and Iran’s other regional proxies.
Indeed, Iran’s even greater presence in other parts of the region, chiefly Syria, may make this point even clearer for the Gulf Arab states. It has already helped to motivate actions by Israel, perhaps the single state that has been most persistent in its opposition to a hands-off approach or a policy or reconciliation with Iran.
On Sunday it was reported that Israel had likely carried out a military strike in Syria in order to kill Samir Kuntar, a former Hezbollah operative who had apparently broken with the Lebanese terrorist group in order to work more directly with Iran and Syria for the sake of carrying out terrorist attacks from bases newly established in Syrian by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps.
Kuntar’s reported activities were described in more detail by Algemeiner on Tuesday. It indicated that unnamed Western sources believed Kuntar to be planning a major terrorist attack on Israel, on the basis of direct financing and planning from Tehran.
Such reports create problems for the talking points of those Western executives who helped to broker the Iran nuclear deal and apparently believed that it might lead to a general trend of moderation inside the regime. In turn, those same reports may be used to justify the counter trends of Argentina, Saudi Arabia, and other entities pursuing a harder line with Iran.
Indeed, the majority of the US Congress has been advocating for just such an aggressive stance on Iran policy. If the reports of Kuntar’s Iranian backing prove true, they may be some of the clearest support to date for this advocacy; but they will by no means be alone. Obama’s critics in Congress have recently pointed to Iran’s provocative ballistic missile tests, which were recently confirmed to be in violation of UN Security Council resolutions.
Furthermore, since the nuclear agreement there has been an uptick in anti-Western rhetoric coming out of Tehran, and a continuation of established anti-American activities including cyberespionage and attempted cyberterrorism. One day after it was reported that Iran had gained remote access to the computer systems running a dam in New York State, the Japan Times reported that a cybersecurity expert had recently uncovered evidence that Iran had also substantially gained access to the US power grid, in what could potentially lead to terrorist attacks on national intfrastructure.