5 released Venezuelan plane crewmembers on their way back to Iran: FM
After 129 long days of consistent consular and legal efforts with the joint cooperation of Iran and Venezuela, the five remaining Iranian crewmembers were freed and are currently on their way home to Iran.
Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Nasser Kanaani said on Tuesday that the remaining Iranian crewmembers of a Venezuelan plane that was seized in Argentina at the request of the US in June have been released.
According to Kanaani, the five Iranian nationals have been freed after 129 days of consistent consular and legal efforts jointly conducted by Iran and Venezuela.
Kanaani added that the evidence given by the plaintiffs, namely DAIA (the umbrella organization of Argentina's Jewish community) and two Zionist members of Argentina’s parliament was ultimately ruled inadmissible and inauthentic by an Argentinian examining magistrate.
He then ordered the crewmembers to be set free by lifting a ban on their travel, while adding they were already on their way back to Iran.
On September 13, a court appeal ruled that 11 Venezuelans and one Iranian who were traveling on board could depart.
Authorities then gave ten days for the judge to make a ruling on the investigation for the seven remaining crew members.
Pilot Gholamreza Ghasemi was among the persons who were initially barred from leaving. After unsuccessfully attempting to enter Uruguay, Ghasemi had to land his Boeing 747 cargo plane in Argentina on June 8 from Mexico with a shipment of auto parts.
When the incident happened, it got so little media attention despite the fact that Argentinian authorities detained 19 crew members at a Buenos Aires airport since it arrived on June 8.
In an exclusive interview for Al Mayadeen Espanol, Mario Araga, one of the detained crew members, appeared to express his shock after discovering that the FBI is accountable for his detention, wondering if Argentina lacks its proper governmental investigative body.
Araga went on to say, “I know it exists and is operational but is there not a device that responds to the questions and inquiries that we have?"
Back in June, Venezuela, and Iran, two countries that endured tremendously from US draconian sanctions, signed a 20-year cooperation deal.
The US claimed that the sale of the plane to Emtrasur in October 2021 violated US sanctions, as Emtrasur happens to be a subsidiary of Venezuelan state carrier Conviasa.
Read: Exclusive - Pilot of seized Venezuela plane reveals detention details
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro then issued accusations against the US over the theft of the plane.
Iran has many older versions of Boeing 747s and despite them being old, they are still functional and Iranian pilots have been able to develop the right expertise in flying them.
Ghasemi's son, Hossein Ghasemi, recently said that in the past his father had an extensive record of working for several airlines. He had flown to Dubai, Damascus, Paris, and many other cities.
Ever since the plane was sold, Ghasemi had been assigned by the Iranian Civil Aviation Organization to train Venezuelan pilots. For a year, he trained Venezuelans and flew several times in South America.
Read more: El Palito, first Iranian-built overseas refinery opened in Venezuela