The US government has seized a Boeing 747 cargo plane, previously owned by an airline linked to Iran’s IRGC, which was grounded in Argentina in June 2022 on suspicion of illegal activities.
The Justice Department said Monday that the US-built plane had been brought to Florida and would be disposed of.
"The Justice Department is committed to ensuring that the full force of U.S. laws deny hostile state actors the means to engage in malign activities that threaten our national security," Assistant Attorney General Matthew Olsen, the head of the department's national security division, said in a statement.
Argentina grounded the 747 plane after its unannounced arrival from Mexico to an airport in Buenos Aires on June 8, 2022. The plane originally belonged to Iran’s Mahan airline affiliated with Iran’s Revolutionary Guard (IRGC) and sanctioned by the US for transporting arms to Syria and supporting terrorism.
The plane had arrived in Argentina with a crew of 19 people, including five Iranians, some with clear ties to the IRGC. Venezuela’s Conviasa national carier had bought or leased the plane from Mahan airlines in early 2022 and christened it ‘Louisa Caceres Arismendi.’
The United States accused the captain of the plane, Gholamreza Ghasemi of being an Revolutionary Guard office. Ghasemi claimed that he was a instructor, teaching the Venezuelan crew how to operate the 747.
Gerardo Milman, an Argentine lawmaker, told Iran International in June 2022 that Iranians aboard the Venezuelan plane planned “attacks on human targets.” Milman also alleged that Captain Ghasemi was a senior official of Qods (Quds) force.