An Argentine judicial chamber has finalized a ruling to allow release of 12 of 19 crew members of a Venezuelan plane grounded on suspicions of ties with Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, a designated terror group.

The Federal Court of Appeals of La Plata in the province of Buenos Aires authorized the 12 crew members' departure on Tuesday and ordered a judge to resolve the investigation into the crew within 10 days. 

In August, Federal Judge Federico Villena authorized the departure of 12 of the 19 people who were onboard, ordering four Iranians and three Venezuelans to be retained in Argentina. He said there are still elements to be investigated regarding the Iranian pilot Gholamreza Ghasemi, designated by the Argentine intelligence service as a member of the Revolutionary Guard. 

Registered as a Venezuelan cargo plane, the aircraft was previously owned by the Iranian company Mahan Air and transported a group of Iranian officials, including Ghasemi, a senior executive of the airline Qeshm Fars Air and a former board member of Fars Air Qeshm who stands accused of transporting weapons for Hezbollah during the civil war in Syria.

In June, Gerardo Milman, an Argentine lawmaker, told Iran International that Iranians aboard the Venezuelan plane planned “attacks on human targets.” Contrary to Iran’s claim on June 13 that the plane was not owned by an Iranian company, Milman said the pilot was “a senior official of Qods (Quds) force,” Tehran’s extraterritorial intelligence and secret ops outfit listed as a terrorist organization by the United States.

Earlier in September, Captain Ghasemi reiterated the claim that he is a flight instructor and had no ties to the Iranian military except for fighting in the Iran-Iraq War (1980-1988) as a volunteer in the Basij Popular Mobilization Forces.

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