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The U.S. Justice Department on Aug. 2 asked Argentina to allow it to seize the Venezuelan-Iranian plane held for possible links to international terrorism. Getty Images.
The U.S. Justice Department on Aug. 2 asked Argentina to allow it to seize the Venezuelan-Iranian plane held for possible links to international terrorism. Getty Images.

Iran pressures Argentina to release Emtrasur plane pilots

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Naser Kanani told a press conference that "they must be released unconditionally".

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The Argentine justice system is investigating possible connections of the members with terrorist groups, however the Tehran official assured that "they have not committed any crime".

On the other hand, the Argentine justice has received strong reports about the relations between Gholamreza Ghasemi, the pilot of the Emtrasur plane.

The Iranian pilot is being held for possible links to terrorism. The investigation of the case is slowed down because federal judge Federico Villena and federal prosecutor Cecilia Incardona need to expand key data to confirm the participation in acts of international terrorism of Ghasemi and as well as 18 crew members of the Boeing 747-300 that flew from Caracas to Buenos Aires carrying 47,882 kilos of auto parts.

The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Israel's foreign intelligence apparatus (Mossad) confirm that the pilot is associated with the IRGC-QF and the Lebanese terrorist group Hezbollah. These terrorist organizations are accused in Argentina of blowing up the Israeli embassy and the AMIA.

In addition, data provided by the FBI indicate that the Quds Force used Fars Air Qeshm and Mahan Air to carry out terrorist actions in the Middle East. A Washington report notes that "Fars Air Qeshm was flagged by the U.S. Treasury in 2019 due to its direct involvement in terrorist activity and the assistance it provides to the Quds Force and Iran's Mahan Air, which have been flagged as terrorist entities."

Naser Kanani assured that the Iranian embassies in Buenos Aires and Caracas continue to negotiate the departure of its five citizens, whose passports have been withdrawn by the Argentine justice system and who are not allowed to leave the country.

"Unfortunately there has been no progress," said the Iranian official.

The citizens were part of the crew of the Boeing 747 Dreamliner cargo plane, which was owned by the Iranian company Mahan Air and currently belongs to Emtrasur, a subsidiary of the Venezuelan Consortium of Aeronautical Industries and Air Services (Conviasa), companies that are sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury Department.

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