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ARGENTINA | 03-08-2022 15:46

US seizes cargo plane sold from Iranian to Venezuelan airline

Argentinian authorities seized the cargo plane in June on the request of the USA. The Iranian and Venezuelan crew members were kept in Buenos Aires to investigate potential links with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps.

The US asked Argentina to seize a Boeing 747 cargo jet that has been grounded outside Buenos Aires since June while authorities investigated ties between crew members and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps. 

The Department of Justice said in a statement Tuesday that the plane was sold by Iran’s Mahan Air to Emtrasur, the cargo division of Venezuelan carrier Conviasa, in violation of US sanctions. Argentinian authorities in June detained the aircraft to determine whether Iranian crew members had ties to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps. 

Mahan has been subject to US sanctions since 2011 for “providing financial, material and technological support” to the elite Quds Force of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. The US says Mahan Air violated its export controls when it transferred the American-made plane to Emtrasur in October 2021 without authorisation.

“We will aggressively seek to prevent sanctioned entities from gaining access to America-made items or profiting from their illegal transfer,” Washington US Attorney Matthew Graves said in the statement.

The captain of the aircraft was an ex-commander with the IRGC and a director of Iranian airline Qeshm Fars Air, according to the US.

by Bloomberg / Bob Van Voris

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