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Argentina grounds Iran-linked Venezuelan cargo plane, lawmakers seek probe -Breaking


© Reuters. The view shows the Boeing 747 plane registered as YV3531 to Venezuelan Emtrasur Cargo airline. It was seen at Cordoba International airport in Ambrosio Taravella. This photo was taken June 6, 2022. REUTERS/Sebastian Borsero


DUBAI/BUENOS AIRES -Argentine authorities grounded a Venezuelan Boeing 747 (NYSE:) cargo plane linked to Iran, a local opposition lawyer and Iranian state media reported on Sunday. This is part of a drama which spotlights political undercurrents throughout Latin America.

According to Iranian airlines, Emtrasur, a cargo plane belonging to Emtrasur, was purchased by Iran’s Mahan Air in Venezuela a year back. The Emtrasur aircraft arrived in Buenos Aires at 6:08 PM, according to flight tracking data. The Iranian media reported that authorities took it away.

Although Argentina’s government did not confirm the seizure publicly, an Interior Ministry document was shared with Reuters that stated authorities took the decision due to suspicions about the reason the plane entered the country.

Close ties exist between Venezuela and Iran, both of which are subject to U.S. sanctions. On Saturday, the two nations signed a twenty-year agreement. Argentina’s centre-left President Alberto Fernandez criticized the U.S. sanction against Venezuela.

Reuters asked Argentina for comment but the government of Argentina did not respond to our queries. Venezuelan officials did not respond immediately when we asked them for comments.

Gerardo Milman (an Argentine lawmaker in the lower house) filed a complaint against a judge on Sunday asking for fingerprints of the crew to be shared with the Federal Intelligence Agency.

Milman, a member the country’s Congressional Intelligence Commission stated that “our information is that it is a plane which has come to conduct Intelligence in Argentina.”

Milman shared the document from the Interior Ministry with Reuters. It stated that 14 Venezuelans, and five Iranians, were on board the aircraft. The names of all those aboard were listed in the document.

According to Argentine media, Argentina’s courts will also need to decide on a habeas Corpus that was filed by a lawyer to allow the crew to free the plane and return passports to the passengers.

The tail sign of “YV3531” on the aircraft did not indicate if it was listed as an Iranian-linked plane under U.S. sanctions. Mahan Air is under U.S. sanction since 2011, for providing support to Iran’s Revolutionary Guards.

Mahan’s spokesperson, Amir Hossein Zolanvari told IRNA that the plane had been transferred to the Venezuelan ownership one year prior.