Mysterious plane landed in Russia and Venezuela before being seized as ‘Iran brings terror and weapons to US backyard’

A MYSTERIOUS plane visited Russia and Venezuela weeks before the Iran-linked aircraft was seized in Argentina.

The Boeing 747 plane was detained in Buenos Aires this week, where Argentine authorities searched and seized it on suspicion of intelligence activities and detained 19 crew members.

Among the crew were five Iranians, allegedly linked to the Quds Force, the shadow wing of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) responsible for clandestine foreign operations.

Iranian dissidents have warned that the detention of the plane is proof that the regime is spreading state-sponsored terrorism to the Americas – right in the US backyard.

It is suspected that the aircraft was carrying members of the IRGC terrorist group, the Quds Force.

And the rogue state is also believed to supply weapons to nations like Venezuela, but no weapons were found on the Boeing 747.

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This fuels fears about the international reach of Iran’s shady terrorist networks.

Flight data shows that the aircraft appears to have flown from Russia’s capital Moscow to Iran’s main city, Tehran, and Venezuela’s seat of power, Caracas, weeks before it was taken over by Argentina.

It is also believed that the plane likely made a fuel stop in Espargos, on the island of Cape Verde.

And it appears that the Boeing 747 in the weeks prior to his arrest visited the Venezuelan capital three times, in addition to making stopovers in Belgrade and Mexico.

Its flight path was assembled using aircraft observer tracking data. Gerjon.

The plane was found to be carrying automotive parts – but its unusually large crew of 19, five Iranians and 14 Venezuelans, raised questions for authorities.

Washington is closely following the case – and Israel praised Argentina for identifying a “potential threat”, warning that Iranian airlines may be involved in the “transfer of arms trafficking in persons and equipment” to the IRGC.

The Iranian political splinter group National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) told The Sun Online that the situation appeared to indicate the regime was “intensifying” and spreading its “state-sponsored terrorism abroad” and urged the West to sit down and take notice.

The NCRI pointed out that the plane, registered with Emtrasur, the cargo division of Venezuela’s state-owned airline Conviasa, was actually acquired from Iran’s Mahan Airlines, designated as a supporter of terrorism by the US.

Mahan Airlines is described as the “IRGC’s favorite airline” and has been used to transport weapons, ammunition and mercenary forces from Iran, Iraq and neighboring countries to Syria to support Bashar al-Assad, according to the NCRI.

Venezuela and Iran are known allies and Conviasa was sanctioned by the US in 2020 accused of using its airline for political reasons.

Hossein Abedini, deputy director of the NCRI, said: “All indications point to the fact that since last year Ebrahim Raisi was named president of the regime, he has intensified repression at home, terrorism abroad and the effort to acquire or nuclear weapons.

Police confiscate boxes of documents during lawsuit at the hotel where the detained crew is staying

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Police confiscate boxes of documents during lawsuit at the hotel where the detained crew is stayingCredit: AP
Police vehicle guards the hotel where the Iranians are being held

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Police vehicle guards the hotel where the Iranians are being heldCredit: EPA

“It is time for the West, in particular the US and UK, to hold the regime accountable for all its nefarious conduct and end the impunity that regime leaders have long enjoyed.”

There have been allegations that one of the Iranians detained is Gholamreza Qasemi, a former IRGC force commander who has been implicated in smuggling weapons into Hezbollah from Lebanon in recent years – although later reports claimed only the name matched.

Another crew member detained is allegedly a family member of Ahmed Vahidi, Iran’s interior minister, who, along with Mohsen Rezaei and Ali Fallahian, is wanted by Interpol for his role in the 1994 bombing of the Jewish community center in Buenos Aires.

A devastating bomb blast killed at least 85 people and injured 300 more, destroying a seven-story Jewish community communication center.

Abedini, who survived an IRGC terrorist attack 30 years ago, said: “We know that Mahan Air is the IRGC’s favorite airline for illicit activities, particularly transporting troops, weapons and all sorts of things.

“Emtrasur airline only has three planes and they all came from Mahan Air – isn’t that a little suspicious? We also believe that Emtrasur’s main base is a military base, which is strange for a cargo airline.

“How are the crew members Iranian and why is the judge arresting them in Argentina? Emtrasur can’t say it didn’t know who was flying – they were crew.

“The other suspicious thing is how many crew there were – 19 for a cargo plane is too many.

“We know that Iranians have a very close 20-year relationship with Venezuela and both are economically sanctioned by the US.

‘DO NOT START’

“This is not a Venezuelan airline with Iranian planes and Iranian officials who we believe have ties to Hezbollah and major terrorist attacks. It looks more like a facade than anything else.”

Argentine Security Minister Aníbal Fernández told local broadcaster Radio Perfil: “After the plane entered, information was received from foreign organizations warning that part of the crew belonged to companies related to the Quds Force of the Revolutionary Guard of Iran.

Routine checks detected “things that weren’t logical,” he added.

An investigation is underway and the 19 crew members are banned from leaving the country.

SEIZED PHONES

The hotel rooms where the 19 crew members are staying were raided with police seizing cell phones and documents. The case is being kept sealed.

Abedini added: “The Iranian regime is the main state sponsor of terrorism, and its terror machine does not recognize borders and limits.

“It has to be remembered that it is the same regime that assigned its accredited diplomat to bomb the grand meeting of Iran’s National Council of Resistance in Paris in 2018, which was aborted in the last stages by European law enforcement agencies and the ‘diplomat’ ended up 20 years old. of prison in Belgium.

“The bigger picture here is that Iran is using an expanded network to export its terror and now they are reaching Latin America.

“While Iran is under tremendous sanctions, their first priority is still the export of terror and they have not let up on that.

“While the world is focused on the Iranian nuclear program and other things, there are signs that Iran is extending its terror and illicit activities in Latin America.

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“There have been talks about releasing Iranian assets and the US needs to realize that if they do that, they would only facilitate activities like this. It would exacerbate that.”

The Sun reached out to Venezuela’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs for comment.

Members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), an arm of the Iranian military, designated as a terrorist organization by the US

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Members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), an arm of the Iranian military, designated as a terrorist organization by the USCredit: Getty
Rescue workers dig through the rubble after the 1994 terrorist attack on a Jewish center in Buenos Aires that killed 85

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Rescue workers dig through the rubble after the 1994 terrorist attack on a Jewish center in Buenos Aires that killed 85Credit: Getty
A relative of Ahmad Vahidi, the Iranian interior minister, pictured was accused of having been

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A relative of Ahmad Vahidi, the Iranian interior minister, pictured was accused of having beenCredit: AFP
Argentine authorities are investigating crew members aboard the Emtrasur plane

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Argentine authorities are investigating crew members aboard the Emtrasur planeCredit: AP
There was an unusually large crew of 17 people on the cargo plane.

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There was an unusually large crew of 17 people on the cargo plane.Credit: AP

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