WIESENTHAL CENTER URGES PRESIDENTS KIRCHNER AND OBAMA TO BAR AHAMADINEJAD'S-HAND PICKED DEFENSE MINISTER-- WANTED BY INTERPOL FOR THE MURDEROUS AMIA TERROR ATTACK-- FROM COMING TO THE AMERICAS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                                            August 21, 2009     

 WIESENTHAL CENTER URGES PRESIDENTS KIRCHNER AND OBAMA TO BAR AHAMADINEJAD'S-HAND PICKED DEFENSE MINISTER-- WANTED BY INTERPOL FOR THE MURDEROUS AMIA TERROR ATTACK-- FROM COMING TO THE AMERICAS

 The Simon Wiesenthal Center added its voice to the growing international condemnation over the appointment of Ahmad Vahidi as Defense Minister by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and urged the Presidents of Argentina and the United States to mount a campaign through the Organization of American States(OAS) to ban Vahidi from coming to the Americas to spread Tehran's terrorist agenda.

Vahidi has been named by the Argentine authorities as one of the terrorists involved in the attack against the AMIA Jewish Center in Buenos Aires, in July 18, 1994, which killed 85 people and injured hundreds.

In a letter to Argentine Foreign Minister, Jorge Taiana, Dr. Shimon Samuels (Director for International Relations of the Wiesenthal Center) underscored that “the Argentine judiciary has established Vahidi’s responsibility in the AMIA blast. There is an INTERPOL Red Notice warrant issued against Vahidi, which means that his arrest is a priority wherever he may be found”.

The Center's Latin American Director, Sergio Widder added: “the nomination of Vahidi to a high level position in the Iranian government makes a mockery of the memory of the AMIA victims, is a provocation against Argentina and also a confirmation that terrorism is a State-policy of Iran”.

“We urge the Argentine government to condemn unreservedly this snub to its sovereignty and to redouble its efforts to bring this terrorist to judgment - even in absentia,” Samuels and Widder stated.

Rabbi Abraham Cooper, Associate Dean of the Wiesenthal Center, said, “Ahmadinejad is snubbing the civilized world with his hand-picked henchman. This is a time for tough, concerted action by Buenos Aires and Washington. We urge President Obama to lead the way in barring this wanted terrorist from the Americas”

The Simon Wiesenthal Center is one of the largest international Jewish human rights organizations with over 400,000 member families in the United States. It is an NGO at international agencies including the United Nations, UNESCO, the OSCE, the OAS, the Council of Europe and the Latin American Parliament (Parlatino).

For further information  contact Shimon Samuels at +336 09770158, or Sergio Widder at +54911 4425-1306 or contact the Center's Public Relations Department, 310-553-9036, join the Center on Facebook, www.facebook.com/simonwiesenthalcenter, or follow @simonwiesenthal for news updates sent direct to your Twitter page or mobile device.