The United States has called on countries around the world to place sanctions and other penalties on the Iranian-backed terrorist group Hezbollah.
The call came on the anniversaries of two heinous Hezbollah attacks. The first, on July 18, 1994, was the bombing of the Jewish community center AMIA (Associacion Mutual Israelita Argentina) in Buenos Aires. The second was the bombing of a bus of Israeli tourists in Bulgaria exactly 18 years later.
The attack on the Jewish community center in Argentina killed 85 people and wounded hundreds more. In Bulgaria, 5 Israelis were killed, along with the Bulgarian bus driver, and 45 Israeli youths were injured.
Both attacks were carried out with the support of Iranian officials. In a statement on the anniversaries, State Department Spokesperson Ned Price noted that the AMIA attack in Buenos Aires was “the single deadliest antisemitic attack in more than half a century.” He called it “a clear example of Iran’s support for international terrorism.”
“High level Iranian government officials were directly implicated in the attack, and Hezbollah carried it out at the direction of the Iranian regime,” he wrote. “While no one responsible has been brought to justice, the United States believes all Argentines deserve to have those responsible held accountable for this despicable and cowardly act.”
Deborah Lipstadt, U.S. Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism who was in Argentina on the anniversary of the attack, also reaffirmed U.S. support for those “seeking accountability for the horrific actions of that day.”
In Bulgaria, two Hezbollah operatives were convicted in absentia in connection with the bus bombing, but because their whereabouts are unknown, justice has yet to be served.
“The United States is committed to countering Hezbollah and Iran’s malign influence,” said State Department Spokesperson Price. “The funding, training, weapons, and other support Iran provides Hezbollah support complex and heinous terrorist attacks like these.
“The callous murder of civilians must not stand,” he declared. “With our support, more than a dozen countries across Europe, South America, Central America, and the Pacific have issued national level designations, bans, or other restrictions against Hezbollah. We urge more countries to take similar measures, which make it harder for the group and its backers in Tehran to threaten peace and security around the globe.”