AP

Israel praises Argentina grounding plane with Iranian crew

Jun 16, 2022, 5:16 PM | Updated: 6:20 pm

A Venezuelan-owned Boeing 747 taxis on the runway after landing in the Ambrosio Taravella airport i...

A Venezuelan-owned Boeing 747 taxis on the runway after landing in the Ambrosio Taravella airport in Cordoba, Argentina, Monday, June 6, 2022. Argentine officials are trying to determine what to do with the cargo plane loaded with automotive parts and an unusually large crew of 17, including at least five Iranians. The plane operated by Venezuela's state-owned Emtrasur cargo line has been stuck since June 6 at Buenos Aires' main international airport, unable to depart because of U.S. sanctions against Iran. and suspicions about its crew. (AP Photo/Sebastian Borsero)

(AP Photo/Sebastian Borsero)

BUENOS AIRES (AP) — Israel praised Argentina on Thursday for holding a Venezuelan plane that included Iranian crew, saying the flight shows Tehran is trying to expand its influence in South America.

Washington also made clear it is keeping close tabs on the investigation into the Boeing 747, which was loaded with automotive parts and raised questions because its 19 crewmembers is an unusually large number for a cargo plane.

In a statement, the Israeli Embassy commended the “fast action” by Argentine authorities who “identified in real time the potential threat” posed by the aircraft, which has been grounded at Argentina’s main airport outside Buenos Aires since June 8.

Israel “is particularly worried” about Iranian airlines “that are dedicated to arms trafficking and the transfer of people and equipment for the Quds Force, which are under sanctions by the United States for being involved in terrorist activities,” the embassy said.

“The recent events provide evidence of the repeated attempts by the Islamic Republic of Iran, through the Revolutionary Guard and the Quds Force, to continue consolidating its influence throughout the world, including South America, as a base for terrorist acctions in the continent,” the embassy added.

The top U.S. diplomat in Argentina also commented on the case.

“We are following with great interest the judicial and law enforcement investigations into the crew and the plane and thank the investigative efforts of Argentine authorities to clear up the situation,” U.S Ambassador Marc Stanley said in a statement shared with local media.

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

Expanding the international reverberations in the case, Venezuela on Thursday evening harshly criticized Uruguay for failing to allow the plane to land in Montevideo to refuel.

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

Uruguay’s “regretable action” could have “caused a tragedy, human lives and damage to both nations,” Venezuela said in a statement, adding that it “demands explanations about this terrible event from the Uruguayan government.”

Before it was sold to Emtrasur a year ago, the plane was owned by Mahan Air of Iran, which the U.S. government has sanctioned for allegedly aiding the Quds Force and terrorist activities.

Law enforcement offices on Tuesday searched the hotel where the crewmembers were staying under orders of Federal Judge Federico Villena, who is investigating the crew.

Argentine authorities say they have not found any irregularities in the crew.

The plane reportedly loaded automotive parts in Mexico and stopped in Venezuela before arriving in Argentina.

The large crew had earlier raised suspicions in Paraguay, where the plane landed last month in Ciudad del Este, close to the Argentina and Brazil borders, Paraguay’s interior minister, Federico González, told a local radio station Tuesday. He said the plane was there May 13-16,

González said Paraguay alerted intelligence agencies in the region about the plane and its crew.

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

___

This story has been corrected to show that the plane was grounded on June 8, rather than June 6.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Colorado River settlement center of new Navajo Nation push...

Associated Press

Tribes say their future is at stake as they push for Congress to consider Colorado River settlement

Navajo officials are celebrating the signing of legislation outlining a proposed Colorado River settlement that would ensure water rights.

19 hours ago

Arizona doctors California abortions...

Associated Press

Arizona doctors can come to California to perform abortions under new law signed by Gov. Newsom

Arizona doctors can temporarily come to California to perform abortions for their patients under a new law signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom.

2 days ago

Father convicted of first-degree murder in northern Arizona...

Associated Press

Arizona man convicted of first-degree murder in starvation death of 6-year-old son

A northern Arizona father was convicted of first-degree murder Thursday in the 2020 starvation death of his 6-year-old son.

2 days ago

Former President Donald Trump sits in a courtroom next to his lawyer Todd Blanche before the start ...

Associated Press

Trump hush money trial enters new phase after defense rests without testimony from former president

Donald Trump's hush money trial is now closer to the moment when the jury will begin deciding the former president's fate.

4 days ago

UoA student convicted of first-degree murder after killing professor...

Associated Press

Former Arizona grad student convicted of first-degree murder in 2022 shooting of professor

A former University of Arizona grad student was convicted of first-degree murder after fatally shooting a professor on campus two years ago.

4 days ago

Rudy Giuliani bankruptcy filing defamation lawsuit...

Associated Press

Ex-NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Arizona’s Kelli Ward plead not guilty in fake elector case

Giuliani appeared remotely for the arraignment that was held in a Phoenix courtroom. His trial will take place in October.

4 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...

COLLINS COMFORT MASTERS

Here are 5 things Arizona residents need to know about their HVAC system

It's warming back up in the Valley, which means it's time to think about your air conditioning system's preparedness for summer.

...

Midwestern University

Midwestern University Clinics: transforming health care in the valley

Midwestern University, long a fixture of comprehensive health care education in the West Valley, is also a recognized leader in community health care.

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s 1 way to ensure your family is drinking safe water

Water is maybe one of the most important resources in our lives, and especially if you have kids, you want them to have access to safe water.

Israel praises Argentina grounding plane with Iranian crew