The US says it has taken possession of a Boeing 747 that Iran illegally sold to a Venezuelan company.

Last updated: February 13, 2024, 00:30 IST

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The US government has seized a Boeing 747 cargo plane that authorities say was previously sold by a sanctioned Iranian airline to a state-owned Venezuelan company in violation of US export control laws.

Washington: The US government has seized a Boeing 747 cargo plane that officials say was previously sold by a sanctioned Iranian airline to a state-owned Venezuelan company in violation of US export control laws. .

The Justice Department said Monday that the American-made plane has arrived in Florida and will be disposed of.

The aircraft were previously transferred from Iranian airline Mahan Air – which authorities have accused of providing support to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Quds Force – to Amtrasur, a Venezuelan cargo airline and a state-owned firm. Subsidiary company of which was earlier approved. United States. Officials said the sales, made without U.S. government permission, violated export control laws and also gave Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard an unfair advantage.

Mahan Air has been subject to US government restrictions on its business for years.

Assistant Attorney General Matthew Olsen, head of the department’s National Security Division, said, “The Department of Justice is committed to ensuring that the full force of U.S. laws prevents hostile state actors from engaging in malign activities that threaten our national security. Stops it.” a statement.

The plane was detained by Argentinian law enforcement in June 2022, and US authorities moved to take possession of it several weeks later. Argentina officially transferred custody of the plane to the United States on Sunday, officials said.

The Justice Department said the plane would now be “ready for disposal,” though it did not elaborate.

The Justice Department identified the plane’s registered captain as a former Revolutionary Guard commander. Officials also cited a flight log, which they say has been recovered, which shows additional flights after the transfer to Amtrasur, including to Moscow, Caracas and Tehran – all without US government approval.

Mahan Air has denied any connection to the plane and Venezuela has demanded that Argentine authorities release the plane.

On Sunday, members of the Venezuelan-led, left-leaning coalition condemned Argentina for its role in the U.S. seizure of the plane, calling the action “theft.” The Bolivarian Coalition of the People of Our America – People’s Trade Treaty argued that the actions violate international law.

“This aggression is a further consequence of the unilateral coercive measures imposed by the United States government that threaten Venezuela’s sovereignty and violate the United Nations Charter and basic principles of international law,” said the group, commonly known as the Alba Alliance. As is known, said in a statement.

The alliance was formed in 2004 by Venezuela and Cuba to counter American influence in the region. Nicaragua, Bolivia and some Caribbean nations are among its current members.

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Associated Press writer Regina Garcia Cano in Caracas contributed to this report.

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(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed – The Associated Press)