Some crew of grounded Venezuela plane allowed to leave

TEHRAN, Aug. 02 (MNA) – An Argentine judge investigating the Iranian and Venezuelan crew of a cargo plane that has been grounded in Buenos Aires since June authorized the departure of 12 of them on Monday, local media reported.

Federal judge Federico Villena did however order seven of the 19 to be retained in Argentina, including four Iranians and three Venezuelans, the International Business Time website said citing local Argentinian media.

While Iran has said that the plane and its crew has nothing to do with Iran as the plane was sold to Venezuela, according to the ruling disclosed by the press, the judge considered that there were still elements to be investigated pertaining to some crew's links with Iran's IRGC. 

The plane in question arrived in Argentina from Mexico on June 6, with 14 Venezuelans and five Iranians on board, before trying to fly to Uruguay two days later, where it was refused entry.

Uruguay's Interior Minister Luis Alberto Heber said his country had received a "formal warning from Paraguayan intelligence."

The plane then returned to Argentina where it has been grounded ever since.

The aircraft belongs to the company Emtrasur, a subsidiary of the Venezuelan Conviasa, which is under US sanctions. It was bought a year ago from the Iranian airline Mahan Air, which the United States claimed of links to the IRGC.

Earlier on July 20, the interim charge d'affaires of the Argentine Embassy in Tehran was summoned to the Iranian Foreign Ministry by the Head of the Second Department of the Foreign Ministry for American Affairs to convey the strong protest of the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the government of Argentina following the imposition of restrictions on the exit of five Iranian nationals as crew members of a Venezuelan cargo plane in this country.

During the meeting of charge d'affaires of the Argentine Embassy in Tehran, while emphasizing the baselessness of accusations and unacceptable prolongation of the investigation process of the Argentine judge to study the status of the plane and Iranian nationals, it was announced that the status of Venezuelan plane and Iranian nationals as crew members of the plane have been completed within the framework of international laws and aviation conventions and there are no claims against Iranian nationals.

The head of the Second Department of the Iranian Foreign Ministry for American Affairs also pointed to the attribution of such baseless accusations, saying that it indicates the hostility of Zionists with the Islamic Republic of Iran and Iranian nationals.

RHM/PR

News Code 189807

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