Pollicita has thus effectively taken up the cause of the late Alberto Nisman, who was found dead under suspicious circumstances the night before he was scheduled to present evidence in the case that he had been researching for 10 years.
In addition to implicating Argentine leaders in a plot to shield Iranians from prosecution in exchange for favorable trade agreements, Nisman called for the arrest of eight senior Iranian officials, and added that others, including current Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, could be tied to the government apparatus responsible for planning the attack.
Pollicita’s decision to move forward with the case was surprising to some observers. But The Algemeiner was told by one Buenos Aires political analyst that that move “underlined the credibility of Nisman’s original accusations.”
The decision also comes shortly after a Jewish member of the Argentine parliament, Sergio Bergman pointed his finger squarely at Iran for the AIMA bombing and the apparent assassination of Alberto Nisman.
“There is no doubt,” Bergman was quoted as saying in a separate Algemeiner report. “You do not have to be crazy to suggest that Iran is involved in his death. It’s not a delusion. To the contrary: Tehran has always been involved here, mixed up with the intelligence services, making agreements with the government, planting spies, in some ways invading us. Iran decides what it does here.”
The Nisman case may be perceived as pushback against this influence, which extends across much of recent history and into other regions of South America. During the 1980s and 90s, terrorist attacks organized by Iran and carried out by Hezbollah were a familiar sight in places like Argentinian. And by some accounts these operations continue to the present day.
Last week, Uruguay expelled an Iranian diplomat from the country over alleged connections between the Iranian embassy and two fake bombs that were left outside of the Israeli embassy on November 24 and January 8 as probable acts of either psychological intimidation or practice for a genuine terrorist attack.
Incidents like this are perhaps made more alarming by the fact that the Iranian media is explicitly boasting about the expansion of its influence in areas of the globe where it is accused of terrorist activities, including South America. On Friday, Tasnim News Agency reported that an Iran-built cement factory had just opened in the nation of Venezuela.
While such business dealings seem innocuous on the surface, media reports this week newly revealed some of the ways in which Iran has utilized front companies and commercial interests to facilitate illicit arms shipments and to cheat on international sanctions aimed at curtailing its nuclear program.
Furthermore, Fars News Agency issued a report on Friday implying that Iran was angling for additional commercial influence in the Western Hemisphere, much closer to the border with the United States. The brief article announced that Iran was prepared to “share its experiences with Mexico in the energy field, [especially] helping that country to build oil and gas refineries.”
Such announcements are familiar in Iranian media, but do not always reflect mutual interest in such dealings. However, even when falsified or exaggerated, the reports point to another aspect of Iranian foreign influence: propaganda. This was highlighted on Friday in a Japan Times report that warned of the potential for Russian “hybrid warfare” to serve as a model for its anti-Western allies, especially including Iran.
In remarks that are sure to strike a chord with critics of the Obama administration’s approach to nuclear negotiations with Iran, the Japan Times, referring to a study by the International Institute for Strategic Studies, said that Russia has been using a strategy of “limited war for limited objectives” in Ukraine, thus maintaining deniability about its actions and making the Western response more difficult.
The report adds that this strategy is supplemented by social media and other propaganda tools as a way of shaping public opinion, and that this is also something that the West has been struggling to counteract. Similarly, with respect to nuclear negotiations with Iran, the Obama administration has specifically acknowledged that it is worried about the ability that Iran might have to shape public opinion and convince the international community that the US is at fault in the event of collapse of the talks.
In his editorial in The National Interest on Thursday, James S. Robbins accused the Obama administration of ignoring the ideological dimensions of Iran’s activities and decision making, saying that Washington “refuses to promote a convincing counterargument for freedom.”
Robbins specifically pointed to Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s open letter to Western youth in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo attacks, in which he urged them to study Islam and argued that their view of the faith was likely influenced by deliberately negative media reports.
“For its part,” Robbins wrote, “the White House is making little effort to promote the cause of freedom among Iran’s youth, even though—given the radical, repressive nature of that regime—it is likely to be a much easier idea to sell.”