The Venezuelan plane with Iranian crew landed at the Ezeiza International Airport could only arouse intense suspicions about the activities that people were going to carry out in Argentina.
While the national government gropes on the matter and justice takes preventive measures, the presence of the Boeing 747 it remains a mystery.
This is what is known so far:
How did the plane arrive in Argentina?
The aircraft that arrived in Argentina on June 6 from Mexico belongs to the company company South Cargo Transport (Emtrasur) a subsidiary of the Venezuelan Venezuelan Consortium of Aeronautical Industries and Air Services (Conviasa)under sanctions of the Office of Foreign Assets Control and Sanctions of the US Department of the Treasury (OFAC).
The Boeing 747-3B3(M) Dreamliner license plate YV3531 was bought by Emtrasur from the Iranian Mahan Airwhich is accused by the United States to transport military cargo on civil aircraft.
“The ownership of the Boeing 747 retained in Argentina has nothing to do with Mahan Airlines”clarified Amir Hossein Zolanvari, a spokesman for that airlinein statements to the Iranian agency IRNA. He added that ownership of the aircraft was transferred to the Venezuelan company and that it was not a rental.
Who is Gholamreza Ghasemi, the Iranian pilot of the plane held in Ezeiza who would be linked to terrorist groups
The cargo plane, with 14 Venezuelan crew members and five Iranians, arrived with auto parts. She landed on Monday June 6 in Córdoba, as a result of the fog in Buenos Aires, and in the afternoon, she went to Ezeiza.
In statements to The nationnational deputy Gerardo Milman said that the plane “turned off the transponder, which is like a GPS on the plane, on its Córdoba-Buenos Aires flight” and He stated that he had made a stopover in Ciudad del Este, “where there were 29 passengers” of the 10 “they stayed in that city.”
Why could not land in Uruguay and returned to Buenos Aires
Due to the fact that in Argentina they could not get any company to provide fuel, for fear of the sanctions that the US could resort to, the plane left for Uruguay.
But on June 8, the aircraft was flying over the Río de La Plata when it learned that was prohibited from transiting through Uruguayan airspaceso he returned to the Ezeiza terminal.
When consulted in this regard, the Uruguayan Minister of Defense, Javier García, said that he obtained “information that the Ministry of the Interior had received [Luis Alberto Heber] of foreign agencies” and ordered the aircraft “to return if there was no humanitarian reason”.
García did not clarify what the information was about, but according to the Uruguayan press it had to do with the US Treasury sanctions against Venezuela and Iran.
What was done in Ezeiza after the landing
At the airport, the delegation was received by the Airport Security Police (PSA), Customs, the Immigration Directorate and the Federal Police upon receiving intelligence information provided by different agencies around the world.
“After entry, information is received from foreign organizations that warned about the belonging of part of the crew to companies related to the Revolutionary Guard of Iran”explained the Minister of Security, Aníbal Fernández to Radius Profile.
Routine checks detected “things that were not logical. They had declared a crew that was smaller than the one that traveled and that led to an investigation,” Fernandez said.
According to Judge Villena, the aircraft “was subjected to an exhaustive control by the Airport Security Police (PSA), personnel from the General Directorate of Customs (DGA), National Directorate of Migration (DNM) and the Argentine Federal Police (PFA)”.
The President was informed that weapons could be found on the plane and people had to be arrested
What was the plane carrying?
The plane allegedly transporting auto parts and other components destined for the production of instrument panels and seats for the truck Taosof the Volkswagen brand, but the company that acquired those auto parts (SAS Automotriz SA), as Volkswagen Argentina disassociated from the Emtrasur flight.
Volkswagen said that these parts are purchased directly from SAS Automotriz SA, which in turn orders the shipment of these components from Querétaro (Mexico) to Forwarder Fracht USAan international company that provides logistics services.
“The relationship between Forwarder and the airline for the aforementioned parts to arrive in Argentina is something that SAS Automotriz Argentina SA is unaware of and has no relationship with”said SAS Automotive SA.
Who are the five Iranian crew members of the plane
The five Iranian crew members of the seized plane – Mohammad Khosraviarach, Gholamreza Ghasemi, Mahdi Mouseli, Sadei Vali Zadeh and Abdolbaset Mohammadi – must continue to be brought to justice in Argentina, before the suspicion that they could belong to companies linked to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard.
The Islamic Revolution Guards Corps of Iran (IRGC) was created 40 years ago to defend the country’s Islamic system and provide a counterweight to the regular armed forces.
Since then, it has become an important military, political and economic force in the Islamic Republic, with close ties to the highest leaders of the regime. It is estimated that the Guard has more than 190,000 active troopshas its own ground, military and air forces, and oversees Iran’s strategic weapons.
The Guard also wields influence elsewhere in the Middle East by providing money, weapons, technology, training and advice to allied governments and armed groups, such as Hezbollah, through its overseas operating arm, the Al-Quds Force.
The United States accuses the Al Quds Force of supporting terrorist organizations and for being responsible for attacks in Iraq and elsewhere in the Middle East that have resulted in the deaths of hundreds of US and allied servicemen.
Gholamreza Ghasemi’s name matches that of a member of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards.
“He is a relative of the Iranian Interior Minister and his name coincides with that of a member of the Revolutionary Guard and administrator of a company linked to Al QudsFernandez said. “If you ask me if it’s him, I don’t know. The name matches.”
Al-Qudsan elite group of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, does not appear on the list of terrorist organizations drawn up by Argentina, although one of its members does individually.
What will happen to the crew?
Federal judge Federico Villena ordered on June 13 the retention of the Iranian crew’s passports “for a period of 72 hours” and the airport police “to report on any movement” of the Boeing 747 plane.
According to the ruling, that measure was based on “the reasonable suspicion that the reason given when entering (to Argentina) could not be the real or true one.”
“The retention in our country of a plane operated by the Venezuelan company Emtrasur, and linked to the Iranian company Mahan Air, sanctioned by the United States for its links to terrorist activities, constitutes a fact that must be urgently clarified by the national authorities. “, considered the magistrate.
There is no alert from Interpol on the travelers, Fernández said. “They were given permission to sleep and they did not leave due to lack of fuel. The companies here do not want to charge (fuel) due to a possible sanction from the United States,” he said.
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Judge Villena’s decision came at the request of the Delegation of Argentine Israelite Associations (DAIA), as representative of the Argentine Jewish community, to be a plaintiff in the investigation of the plane’s passengers.
The Venezuelan crew members, on the other hand, are in possession of their documents and are: Mario Arraga Urdaneta, Victor Perez Gomez, Victoria Valdiviezo Marval, José Garcia Contretras, Cornelio Trujillo Candor, Vicente Raga Tenias, José Ramirez Martinez, Zeus Rojas Velasquez, Jesús Ladenta Oraa, Armando Marcano Estreso, Ricardo Rendon Oropeza, Albert Ginez Perez, Angel Marin Ovalles and Nelson Coello.
Like the Iranians, they were housed in hotels with temporary stay permits.
Probably, if in 72 hours important data does not appear that shows any relationship with Iranian military forces, the crew members will be able to leave the country, since that period is the one that the Justice determined for the crew members’ passports to be withheld.
Nevertheless, it seems difficult that they can do it on board the same plane which is now stranded in Ezeiza, since no oil company wants to fuel them for possible US sanctions.
Aníbal Fernández and the Venezuelan plane: “Part of the crew members are from the Iranian Revolutionary Guard”
What did Iran say about what happened?
Argentina considers the presence of Iranian travelers sensitive, due to the red capture alerts issued by Interpol that apply to former rulers of that country, accused of the attack against the AMIA in 1994, which left 85 dead and some 300 injured.
The Argentine Israelite Mutual Association (AMIA) and the DAIA They demanded in a statement on June 12, the “total clarification of the situation generated by the Venezuelan plane linked to Iran and retained in the country.”
“The attacks of March 17, 1992 against the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires and of July 18, 1994 against the AMIA, which still remain unpunished, were planned and executed by Hezbollah, a terrorist group financed and supported by the Republic Islamic Republic of Iran,” the organizations added in the statement.
Tehran’s reaction was to describe the events as propaganda. “The last few weeks are full of propaganda, psychological operations, war of words to provoke a feeling of insecurity (in Iran) and this case is part of it,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Said Khatibzadeh said.
“I think more than a year ago, according to the (Iranian) company Mahan Airlinesthat the plane was sold to Venezuela,” the official said.
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