Judge asks US for information on link between plane and crew and terrorism – MercoPress

Emtrasur: A judge asks the United States for information on the link between the plane and the crew and terrorism

Saturday, June 25, 2022 – 10:20 UTC

Argentine investigators ruled out it was a “fishing expedition” and explained that terrorism cases follow a different protocol since 9/11.

Argentine federal judge Federico Villena has sent letters rogatory to US authorities to determine whether the Emtrasur Boeing 747-300 held at Ezeiza airport was subject to an embargo or formal restriction, a- we learned on Friday in Buenos Aires.

Local investigators also wanted to establish whether the cargo ship’s captain, Iranian Gholamreza Ghasemi, or any other crew member was being investigated for possible links to international terrorism.

Villena also asked if a measure restricting Ghasemi’s “freedom of movement” had been issued and whether or not the plane was “subject to an embargo or formal restriction”.

The diplomatic request was filed following the advice of prosecutor Cecilia Incardona citing “Gholamreza Ghasemi’s possible relationship with international terrorist activities” and to prove ownership of the plane formerly operated by Iranian Mahan Air and currently in service. of Emtrasur, a subsidiary of the Consorcio Venezolano de Industrias Aeronáuticas y Servicios Aéreos (Conviasa), all companies sanctioned by the US Treasury Department.

Judge Villena kept the passports of the entire crew of five Iranians and fourteen Venezuelans and seized the plane pending investigations, while prosecutor Incardona noted that the FBI had reported that the pilot of the avion was the executive director and board member of Qeshm. Fars Air, a company that assists the Quds Force – a division of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps – and Mahan Air, both of which have been described as “terrorist entities”.

Argentina’s prosecutor insists that the judicial investigation must determine if the real purpose of the trip was to deliver auto parts or if it was an “act of preparation to provide goods or money” that could be used for terrorist activities.

The arrival of this plane provoked a media outcry and questions from the opposition in Argentina, a country which suffered two terrorist attacks in the 1990s: against the Argentine Israelite Mutual Association (AMIA) and the embassy from Israel to Buenos Aires, both linked by the Israeli intelligence services. to Iran and Hezbollah.

Incardona accused Ghasemi of suspicion of terrorism. Iranian and Venezuelan crew members of the 747 will continue to be banned from leaving the country while staying at a hotel in the Canning district of Ezeiza jurisdiction. Although no movement restrictions have been issued, a discreet security force guard is watching the place, according to local media.

Although the case is still shrouded in secrecy, the contents of Ghasemi’s mobile phone were leaked to the press: it included photos of Ghasemi as a member of the Al-Quds Revolutionary Guards and images with alleged anti-Israeli legends.

Despite the meager findings, investigators ruled out it was a ‘fishing expedition’ and explained that since the September 11, 2001 attacks in the United States, terrorism investigations are subject to a different protocol. which would endorse everything that has been done so far.