The Iranian plane scandal: how the case continues and the enigma about the pilot corners the Government

Eight days after it was revealed the scandal of the Venezuelan-Iranian plane held in Ezeiza, Alberto Fernandez first referred to the matter and denied that the aircraft, previously sanctioned by the United States, had red alerts and restrictions. Contrary to what was stated by the Paraguayan Intelligence Ministerwhich gave credence to the version that Gholamreza Ghasemi -one of the crew members- has ties to international terrorism.

Meanwhile, the case is progressing in federal court. This Saturday it became known that Federico Villenain charge of the investigation, already has in his hands the expertise carried out on the cell phones, personal computers and tablets of the occupants of the plane.

I also read: Alberto Fernández spoke for the first time about the retained plane: “There was no irregularity”

In total, they were analyzed 18 cell phones, seven laptops and five tablets. The expertise includes the contents of the black boxes of the Boing 747 Dreamliner that were seized in an inspection carried out on Friday night.

The federal Justice also has under the magnifying glass the routes made by the plane during the last month. racked up trips to Aruba, Ciudad del Este, Tehran, Moscow and Belgrade. An attempt will be made to determine the reason for the different itineraries and whether it involved the 19 crew members in question, about whom no criminal charges have yet been filed.

In addition, Villena awaits the results of the report requested through the Foreign Ministry to the United States to obtain more data that will reveal the true identity of the pilot: that is, if it is the same one to which links with the Quds Forces -Iranian Revolutionary Guard paramilitary group- or is it a homonymas he ventured Hannibal FernandezMinister of National Security.

Alberto Fernández: “They wanted to show something that is not”

After an entire week in which the government devoted itself to tone down the scandal, Alberto Fernandez assured: “There was no irregularity”.

“They wanted to show a dark thing that is not. The opposition tried to take advantage of it from such a painful event like the attack on the AMIA, with a denunciation of terrorism. It is part of the madness that exists in politics,” he added.

“(The plane) brought a cargo from Mexico contracted by an Argentine company. There were five Iranians on whom no restrictions weigh.”emphasized the President to radius 10 in relation to Ghasemi and his four compatriots, who are staying in a hotel in Canning along with the 14 Venezuelan citizens who made up the crew. It weighs on all of them a ban on leaving the country.

The alleged pilots of the mysterious plane that landed in Buenos Aires.  On the right, Ghasemi.  (Photo: Twitter/@damianpachter)
The alleged pilots of the mysterious plane that landed in Buenos Aires. On the right, Ghasemi. (Photo: Twitter/@damianpachter)

Minutes before, Agustin Rossi had ratified the hypothesis that the Iranians are aviation instructors and were “teaching Venezuelans to fly.” “To the Argentines I say, calm down. Until today everything is fine”said the head of the Federal Intelligence Agency (AFI) in statements to Radio Miter. And he insisted that the flight had no restrictions or alerts.

I also read: Rossi insists that the Iranians are flight trainers and relativized Paraguay’s warning

All this contradicts the version that comes through the National Intelligence Secretariat of Paraguay, whose head, Esteban Aquino, stated in relation to Ghasemi: “According to what we know and allied agencies confirmedis that it is a person linked to the Quds. He’s not lookalike, namesake or anything. There is no doubt. he is worrying”.

His statements found an echo in a report where the apparent links of the Iranian captain with an organization classified as terrorist by the United States are pointed out.

The official discourse, put to the test: does the plane represent a threat to national security?

After the intervention of the President, and while questions about the actions of the organizations involved in the event are around, the official discourse is more exposed and will be put to the test: does the presence of the plane really pose a threat to national security?

The Venezuelan cargo plane that was immobilized after landing at the Ezeiza airport (Photo: courtesy Sebastián Borsero - Aviacionline.com).
The Venezuelan cargo plane that was immobilized after landing at the Ezeiza airport (Photo: courtesy Sebastián Borsero – Aviacionline.com).

The future of the case depends largely on an intelligence report from the United States. As revealed to TN sources of the investigation, the result of the documents required by the judge Villena will determine the course of the file.

I also read: Suspicions and crossfire in the Government for the plane held in Ezeiza

If the reports do not link Ghasemi to any terrorist organization, the way would be paved for release the plane and allow all crew and passengers to leave the country.

If, on the other hand, the US effectively marks the pilot as a member of terrorist groups, the case – today under summary secrecy – would take a turn, generating a scandal on an international scale.

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