The Iranian government urged on Monday that Argentina must allow five Iranians who were part of the crew of a Venezuelan plane held in Buenos Aires to leave its territory.

“They should be released unconditionally,” Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Naser Kanani said at a press conference.

“They have not committed any crime,” he remarked.

The diplomat affirmed that the Iranian embassies in Buenos Aires and Caracas continue to negotiate the departure of their five citizens, whose passports were withdrawn by the Argentine justice and who are not allowed to leave the South American country.

“Unfortunately there has been no progress,” said the Iranian official.

The five Iranians were part of the crew of a Boeing 747 cargo aircraft, which was owned by the Iranian company Mahan Air and now belongs to Emtrasur, a subsidiary of the Venezuelan Consortium of Aeronautical Industries and Air Services (Conviasa), companies that are sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury Department.

The aircraft entered Argentina on June 6 from Mexico, making a stopover in Venezuela, allegedly to transfer cargo to an automotive company in Córdoba. Two days later, the 747 took off to Uruguay to refuel, but landed again at the Argentine airport of Ezeiza, Buenos Aires, because the neighboring country did not authorize its landing in Montevideo.

The plane’s crew consists of five Iranians and fourteen Venezuelans and Argentines.

In mid-June, an Argentine judge ordered the withholding of the passports of the Iranian crew members, who have full freedom of movement, while an investigation is being carried out to determine whether one of them is related to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard.

Argentina and Iran have maintained distant relations since the bombing of the Asociación Mutual Israelita Argentina in Buenos Aires, which killed 85 people in 1994 and was linked to Tehran.

Source » mercopress