Eleven Republican Senators have sent a letter to the US attorney general for what they say is a delay in helping with information on Iranians held by Argentina.

The influential Senators, including Lindsey Graham, Marco Rubio and Chuck Grassley and Ted Cruz have signed the letter led by Sen. Joni Ernst of Iowa say that after Argentina detained Iranians with links to the Revolutionary Guard in early June, the Biden Administration “has refused to provide key Argentinian law enforcement officials information confirming links to terrorist activities.”

Argentina’s security minister Anibal Fernández tweeted on June 11 that the government detained a Venezuelan plane sanctioned by the United States and withheld the passport of five Iranian crew members. The admission by the minister came after a local website reported on the incident. Later it was revealed that the pilot of the Iranian plane “leased” to a Venezuelan cargo carrier.

A week later, as Argentina downplayed any links with the Revolutionary Guard, head of the Paraguayan National Intelligence Secretariat Esteban Aquino said Captain Gholamreza Ghasemi of the 747 cargo plane was a member of the IRGC Qods (Quds) Force, sanctioned by the US for terror activities.

Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa)

According to the senators who have sent a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland, the Argentinian judiciary has asked for information “key to their investigation into the Iranian suspects” held since June. The senators say that “The Argentine judiciary, through standard process which is called the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) program, requested information from the Justice Department on the potential involvement of the plane and its crew in support of international terrorism.”

The letter accuses the Biden administration of delaying information because it pursues to revive the 2015 nuclear agreement known as the JCPOA, which former President Donald Trump abandoned in 2018.

The senators say the alleged delay is “all to prioritize the administration’s desperate and misguided pursuit of a new Iran nuclear deal, it would be a disgrace and completely unacceptable. We need assurances right away that vital information will be promptly provided, along with a full explanation for the delay,”

The administration has yet to respond to the accusation, but its record in relation to Iran has been mixed since it launched indirect talks in Vienna in April 2021 to revive the JCPOA.

While the Biden team has issues new sanctions against individuals and companies involved in clandestine Iranian activities violating previous US sanctions, the administration has not vigorously enforced the major economic sanctions against Iran’s oil exports.

Since early 2021, China has more than doubled its illicit imports of discounted oil from the Islamic Republic, throwing a lifeline to its dire finances.

The senators warned that if it tuns out the administration purposely delayed or ignored Argentinian requests needed to carry out their investigation, “it would be a disgrace and completely unacceptable.” Sen, Ernst was quoted as saying, “We need assurances right away that vital information will be promptly provided, along with a full explanation for the delay.”

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