Argentina's president said Tuesday she has asked for a meeting with Iran over a 1994 terror attack in Buenos Aires that killed more than 80 people at a Jewish association in 1994, for which her country blames Tehran.
President Cristina Kirchner, who is at the UN General Assembly taking place this week in New York, said she had instructed her Foreign Minister Hector Timmerman to hold the meeting with his Iranian counterpart Ali Akbar Salehi, at some point in the future.
Argentina says Iran masterminded the bombing at the Israeli-Argentine Mutual Aid Association (AMIA) building housing Jewish charities and NGOs in the capital, which has soured relations between the two countries for more than a decade.
It would be the first such meeting between the two countries over the attack.
Kirchner said that, as Iran has said it wants to cooperate with Argentina's probe, she expects results from the discussions.
"We expect proposals on how to move forward on this deep conflict that goes back to 1994," Kirchner told the UN General Assembly.
She added however that she would not act on any proposal without first consulting with victims of the attack and political parties back home.
In the attack on July 18, 1994 a van loaded with explosives exploded outside the AMIA building. 85 people were killed and more than 300 people injured in the country's worst terrorist attack. The six-story building that housed the association was leveled.
In 2006, Argentina indicted and sought the extradition of eight Iranians over the massacre. They include the current Defense Minister and former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani.
Kirchner recalled Tuesday that Argentina has raised the possibility of holding a trial in a third country.
Argentine prosecutors allege that the attack was planned and financed in Tehran and carried out by a Hezbollah cell.
In July of last year, the Iranian foreign ministry denied those eight people were involved but said it was prepared to hold a "constructive dialogue" and "cooperate with the Argentine government to shed all light" on the attack.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Wednesday said he hoped Iran and Argentina could expand their ties. "We would like to expand our relations," he told a press conference in New York, blaming "the meddling of others" for creating misunderstanding between the two nations.
Speaking through a translator, Ahmadinejad said Tehran had proposed that a group be established "in order to analyze and hold discussions in order to reach the truth."
The Jewish community in Argentina welcomed news of the meeting with Iran.
"It would be a glimmer of hope" if the talks lead to the Iranian suspects being brought to justice in Argentina, said AMIA president Guillermo Borger.
The World Jewish Congress described Argentina´s president´s speech in the United Nation General Assembly as “very positive”. Evelyn Sommer, chairwoman of the WJC in North America said, the Argentinean government tends to look for “the truth for the victims and their families”.
The Argentinian Foreign Minister was due to meet with World Jewish Congress president, Ronald Lauder on Thursday to discuss the Argentinian president’s UN speech.