Venezuelan-Iranian plane held in Ezeiza departs after 20 months


News Team

The Venezuelan-Iranian plane that was detained at Ezeiza airport on June 8, 2022, has finally left for the United States after being held for over a year. The Boeing 747-300 registration YV3531 of the Venezuelan Emtrasur was confiscated by the United States Government and Justice due to irregularities in its transfer from the Iranian airline Mahan Air to Emtrasur. Venezuela had demanded the return of the plane, but it was removed from the country.

The cargo aircraft, which was manufactured in the USA, was purchased by Venezuela from the Iranian Mahan Air and arrived in Argentina carrying Volkswagen auto parts. However, the United States claimed that the sale of the plane to the Venezuelan company Conviasa violated the embargo against Mahan Air and Iran, leading to the confiscation of the aircraft.

The situation escalated between February and May 2022 when the Venezuelan company allowed the plane to travel from Caracas to Tehran and Moscow. The aircraft arrived in Buenos Aires on June 6, 2022, with a load of auto parts from SAS Automotriz, a firm that markets seats and instrument panels for Volkswagen. Two days later, the plane attempted to fly to Uruguay to refuel, but the government of Uruguay prevented it from landing.

The crew of the plane, consisting of fifteen Venezuelans and four Iranians, was detained by Argentine Justice but was later released. On December 29, federal judge Federico Villena ordered the definitive seizure of the Iranian Emtrasur plane.

This final chapter of the Venezuelan-Iranian plane in Argentina comes after a confusing episode in which a diplomat from the Venezuelan embassy was found taking photos of the aircraft at Ezeiza airport. The diplomat, identified as José Jesús Jatar Díaz, entered a restricted area where the plane was located and took several photos with his cell phone before being stopped by PSA officers. A judicial investigation was opened to determine how the diplomat gained access to the restricted area and who authorized it.

The airport’s security cameras were requested as part of the investigation, and Judge Villena, who is in charge of the plane case, is overseeing the investigation. The aircraft spent more than a year in the custody of the United States Marshals Service, during which mechanical and storage inspections were carried out. In recent months, the plane was moved multiple times, and videos of its movements circulated on social media.

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