Sunday, June 26, 2022

Man with Quds Force attached to plane in Argentina: Paraguay

Paraguay’s intelligence chief said on Friday that a man on board a plane near Buenos Aires last week had links to Iran’s Quds Force, contradicting the Argentine government.

Intelligence chief Esteban Aquino told AFP that Captain Gholamreza Ghasemi not only shared a name with a member of the force – the foreign operations arm of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards – but is in fact the same man.

The Guards is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States.

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Aquino contradicted Argentine Security Minister Aníbal Fernández, who said this week that there were no Quds Force members on board the plane, and Ghasemi only shared a name with anyone on the wanted list.

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A Boeing 747 cargo plane, reportedly carrying car parts, has been kept at an Argentine airport since Wednesday of last week. Its 14 Venezuelan and five Iranian crew members have been barred from leaving the country for investigation.

On Monday, Argentine officials suspected a link between the flight and the Revolutionary Guards.

Paraguay said on Tuesday it was aware that seven of the crew were members of the Quds Force when the plane stopped there in May.

The plane belongs to Emtrasure, a subsidiary of Venezuela’s Conviasa, which is subject to US sanctions.

Iran has said the plane was sold by Iran’s Mahan Air last year to a Venezuelan company.

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Mahan Air has been accused by the United States of ties with the Revolutionary Guards.

The plane reached Argentina from Mexico on 6 June. It tried to fly to Uruguay two days later, but the country refused it entry and it returned to Argentina where it has since been intercepted.

Uruguay’s Interior Minister Luis Alberto Heber said on Tuesday that the country had responded to a “formal warning from Paraguayan intelligence”.

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Nation World News Desk
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