July 7, 2022

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Argentina stops Venezuelan cargo plane linked to Iran

Argentina stops Venezuelan cargo plane linked to Iran

Today, Sunday, a local opposition deputy and Iranian state media said that the Argentine authorities had stopped a Venezuelan Boeing 747 cargo plane linked to Iran, in an unfolding drama that sheds light on the hidden political currents in the country. Latin america.

The Emtrasur cargo plane, which Iran’s Mahan Air sold to Venezuela a year ago according to Iran Air, arrived in Buenos Aires on June 8, according to flight tracking data. The lawmaker and Iranian media said it was subsequently seized by the authorities.

The Argentine government has not publicly confirmed the seizure of the plane, but an Interior Ministry document seen by Reuters said that the authorities took the measure due to doubts about the stated reason for the plane’s entry into the country.

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Iran and Venezuela, which are under US sanctions, have close ties. On Saturday, the two countries signed a 20-year cooperation plan. The center-left Argentine President Alberto Fernandez has criticized US sanctions against Venezuela.

The Argentine government did not respond to inquiries from Reuters seeking comment on the plane. Venezuelan authorities did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

On Sunday, Argentine Representative Gerardo Melman, who has drawn attention about the case in recent days, filed a complaint with the judge requesting that the crew be fingerprinted and the information shared with the Federal Intelligence Agency.

“Our information is that this is a plane that came to conduct intelligence in Argentina,” said Melman, a member of the country’s congressional intelligence committee.

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According to the Interior Ministry document, seen by Mailman Reuters, 14 Venezuelans and 5 Iranians were traveling on the plane. It listed the names of those on board.

Argentine media reported that Argentine courts should also rule on a summons issued by a lawyer to the crew to release the plane and return the passports of those on board.

It was not immediately clear whether the YV3531-branded aircraft was on the list of aircraft associated with Iran subject to US sanctions. Mahan Air has been under US sanctions since 2011 for its support of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards.

“The plane was transferred a year ago and it was sold to a Venezuelan company,” Amirhossein Zolanfari, spokesman for Mahan, told the official IRNA news agency.

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Coverage from the newsroom in Dubai and Lucilla Segal in Buenos Aires; Additional reporting by Vivian Sequera. Written by Alexander Villegas; Editing by Eileen Hardcastle and Chris Reese

Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.