Argentina

Overview:  In 2022, Argentina continued to focus its counterterrorism strategy on the Tri-Border Area (TBA) of Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay, where suspected terrorist financing networks operate.  Robust U.S.-Argentine law enforcement and security cooperation continued in 2022.  Argentina maintained Hizballah’s listing on its domestic registry of terrorist groups and entities for the third consecutive year.

2022 Terrorist Incidents:  There were no reported terrorist incidents in Argentina during 2022.

Argentine citizens and public officials continue to criticize the lack of justice for the 1992 bombing of the Israeli Embassy in Argentina and the 1994 bombing of the Jewish community center Asociación Mutual Israelita Argentina (AMIA) – both of which took place in Buenos Aires.  On July 22 the New York Times reported on an investigation into the terrorist attacks by Israeli intelligence agency Mossad, which shared the written findings of its internal study with the Times.  The report, intensively covered by the Argentine press, concluded that Hizballah had created a cell in Buenos Aires to conduct the attacks, further assessing that Iran “approved and funded the attacks and supplied training and equipment as a supporter of Hizballah, but did not have an operational role on the ground.  AMIA and the national Jewish community’s umbrella organization, the Delegación de Asociaciones Israelitas Argentinas (DAIA) immediately rejected the report and stated there should be no differentiation between Hizballah and the Iranian state.

On January 19, in a joint declaration that it led at the OAS, Argentina and 20 other OAS Member States formally condemned the presence of Iranian Vice President Mohsen Rezai, who is the subject of an INTERPOL Red Notice because of his alleged involvement in the AMIA bombing, at the January 10 inauguration of Nicaraguan president Daniel Ortega.  The statement called on all members of the OAS to “act appropriately in relation to INTERPOL’s Red Notice regarding the AMIA attack.”  Argentine ambassador to Nicaragua Daniel Capitanich attended the inauguration; however, Argentine officials claimed Capitanich did not know Rezai would attend and swiftly condemned Rezai’s presence.

In 2019, former president Mauricio Macri signed a presidential decree creating a Public Register of People and Entities Linked to Acts of Terrorism and Their Financing and added UNSC-designated terrorist groups and individuals linked to Hizballah and the AMIA bombing.  No new names were added in 2022.

On June 8, Argentine authorities detained a plane and its crew while a judge investigated them for possible links to terrorist organizations.  The Argentine investigation ultimately identified the captain of the aircraft as an ex-commander in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.  Argentine law enforcement searched the aircraft and found a Mahan Air flight log documenting the aircraft’s flights after the unlawful transfer to Emtrasur.  The crew members eventually departed Argentina in September and October after a federal judge determined there was insufficient evidence of links to terrorist activity or other criminal activity.  Although the investigative case was no longer active, it remained open, which allows for subsequent legal actions — to include mutual legal assistance treaty requests.  A U.S. seizure warrant, as well as significant logistical challenges such as refueling and maintenance, kept the aircraft in Argentina.

Countering the Financing of Terrorism:  Argentina is a member of FATF and GAFILAT (the Financial Action Task Force of Latin America).  Its FIU, the Financial Information Unit Argentina, is a member of the Egmont Group.  The TBA continues to be one of the principal routes into Argentina for multi-billion-dollar trade-based money laundering, counterfeiting, drug trafficking, and other smuggling operations.  In addition, many of the money laundering organizations in the TBA have suspected links to Hizballah.

In May the executive branch sent a bill to Argentina’s congress to modify the criminal code to improve the effectiveness of the prevention and prosecution of money laundering and terrorist financing.  In June the National Committee for Combating Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing approved Argentina’s first AML national risk assessment, and subsequently approved a national strategy for the prevention and prosecution of AML and financing of terrorism crimes.

For further information on money laundering and financial crimes, see the 2022 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report, Volume 2, Money Laundering and Financial Crimes.

Legislation, Law Enforcement, and Border Security:  Plans to change the criminal code’s legal framework for terrorism cases remained delayed in 2022.  While the executive branch drafted and submitted legislation to congress for approval in both 2019 and 2022, the legislature has not yet approved the proposals.

Argentine security agencies maintain specialized law enforcement units that have substantial capabilities to respond to criminal activities, including terrorist incidents.  Argentina continued to develop its nationwide network of law enforcement intelligence fusion centers and to incorporate biometric data at ports of entry to fight against international terrorism and transnational crime.

The nation continued cross-border coordination through its participation in the Tripartite Command, an interagency security mechanism created by Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay to exchange information and combat transnational threats in the TBA, including terrorism.

Countering Violent Extremism:  The Government of Argentina has continued to issue statements of condemnation against major acts of terrorism.

International and Regional Cooperation:  Argentina participated in the OAS Inter-American Committee against Terrorism in July.

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