Israel praises Argentina grounding aircraft with Iranian crew


BUENOS AIRES (AP) — Israel praised Argentina on Thursday for holding a Venezuelan aircraft that included Iranian crew, saying the flight reveals Tehran is attempting to increase its affect in South America.

Washington additionally made clear it’s protecting shut tabs on the investigation into the Boeing 747, which was loaded with automotive components and raised questions as a result of its 19 crewmembers is an unusually massive quantity for a cargo aircraft.

In an announcement, the Israeli Embassy counseled the “quick motion” by Argentine authorities who “recognized in actual time the potential menace” posed by the plane, which has been grounded at Argentina’s foremost airport exterior Buenos Aires since June 8.

Israel “is especially nervous” about Iranian airways “which might be devoted to arms trafficking and the switch of individuals and tools for the Quds Power, that are underneath sanctions by america for being concerned in terrorist actions,” the embassy mentioned.

“The latest occasions present proof of the repeated makes an attempt by the Islamic Republic of Iran, via the Revolutionary Guard and the Quds Power, to proceed consolidating its affect all through the world, together with South America, as a base for terrorist acctions within the continent,” the embassy added.

The highest U.S. diplomat in Argentina additionally commented on the case.

“We’re following with nice curiosity the judicial and regulation enforcement investigations into the crew and the aircraft and thank the investigative efforts of Argentine authorities to clear up the scenario,” U.S Ambassador Marc Stanley mentioned in an announcement shared with native media.

Argentine authorities have seized the passports of the 5 Iranians and 14 Venezuelan crewmembers on the aircraft, which is operated by Venezuela’s state-owned Emtrasur line, a subsidiary of Conviasa, which is underneath U.S. sanctions.

Increasing the worldwide reverberations within the case, Venezuela on Thursday night harshly criticized Uruguay for failing to permit the aircraft to land in Montevideo to refuel.

The aircraft’s crew sought to fly to Montevideo on June 8 however needed to return to Buenos Aires after Uruguayan authorities refused entry into its airspace, based on a report by Argentina’s Transportation Ministry. It was then that the aircraft was grounded by Argentine authorities.

Uruguay’s “regretable motion” might have “triggered a tragedy, human lives and harm to each nations,” Venezuela mentioned in an announcement, including that it “calls for explanations about this horrible occasion from the Uruguayan authorities.”

Earlier than it was offered to Emtrasur a 12 months in the past, the aircraft was owned by Mahan Air of Iran, which the U.S. authorities has sanctioned for allegedly aiding the Quds Power and terrorist actions.

Regulation enforcement workplaces on Tuesday searched the resort the place the crewmembers had been staying underneath orders of Federal Decide Federico Villena, who’s investigating the crew.

Argentine authorities say they haven’t discovered any irregularities within the crew.

The aircraft reportedly loaded automotive components in Mexico and stopped in Venezuela earlier than arriving in Argentina.

The massive crew had earlier raised suspicions in Paraguay, the place the aircraft landed final month in Ciudad del Este, near the Argentina and Brazil borders, Paraguay’s inside minister, Federico González, advised an area radio station Tuesday. He mentioned the aircraft was there Could 13-16,

González mentioned Paraguay alerted intelligence businesses within the area concerning the aircraft and its crew.

Argentina suffered two terrorist assaults in its capital that judicial investigators have blamed on Iran — a 1992 explosion on the Israeli Embassy and a lethal bombing at a Jewish group in 1994. Iran has denied any involvement.


This story has been corrected to point out that the aircraft was grounded on June 8, quite than June 6.

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