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US government steals airplane that Iran sold to Venezuela, claiming alleged sanctions violations
By Ethan Huff // Feb 16, 2024

The United States has stolen a Boeing 747 cargo plane that Iran sold to Venezuelan state airline Emtrasur in 2022 because, according to the Biden regime, the sale of the aircraft violated sanctions.

On Monday, the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) announced that Washington has taken custody of the aircraft, which was grounded 18 months ago by Argentina. Iran's Mahan Air conducted the sale in violation of U.S. sanctions on the airline due to its affiliation with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).

"Mahan Air, known to ferry weapons and fighters for the IRGC and Hezbollah, violated our export restrictions by selling this airplane to a Venezuelan cargo airline," said Assistant Secretary of Export Enforcement Matthew S. Axelrod in a statement.

"Now it's property of the U.S. government."

In 2019, the U.S. sanctioned Iran with the toughest restrictions yet due to Washington's designation of the IRGC, a critical military and economic component of Iran, as a "foreign terrorist organization."

(Related: The corporate media really wants the world to believe that Tehran helped Hamas plot the October 7 attack on Israel because this will justify waging war on Iran.)

U.S. plane seizure "illegal," says Iran

Iran is protesting the move, its Ministry of Foreign Affairs condemning it as "illegal" in a brief statement that cited the United Nations Charter. Spokesman Nasser Kanaani vowed in his statement to help Caracas reclaim the plane.

"The Islamic Republic of Iran announces its decisive support for the legal and diplomatic efforts of Venezuela in order to regain ownership and access to the possessions and belongings of the country," he said.

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The government of Venezuela is saying much the same, calling the theft a "shameful rapacious operation." It, too, is vowing to "take all actions to restore justice and achieve the restitution of the aircraft to its legitimate owner."

Argentina is also involved in the heist, having grounded the jumbo jet immediately following the deal. Venezuela's Nicolas Maduro condemned Argentina for "colluding" with the U.S. in violating the international aeronautics regulations and rights of Emtrasur.

In defense of the theft, the DoJ cited court documents claiming that the registered captain of the aircraft in question was a former commander of the IRGC and shareholder and board member of Fars Air Qeshm, which the U.S. claims is affiliated with the foreign operations Quds Force of the branch of the IRGC that handles operations outside the borders of Iran.

The U.S. seizure of the plane has been a long time coming, having been in the works since 2022 when Argentina first grounded it. Now, the U.S. has taken possession of the stolen loot using the usual claims of terrorism.

The DoJ announced that the U.S.-built plane has since been taken to Florida where it is scheduled to be disposed of, though the federal agency did not indicate any further what this process will actually entail.

"The seized American-built aircraft was transferred by a sanctioned Iranian airline in a transaction that violated U.S. export control laws and directly benefited the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, which is a designated terrorist organization," said Assistant Attorney General Matthew G. Olsen of the DoJ's National Security Division.

"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."

U.S Attorney Markenzy Lapointe for the Southern District of Florida further added that the seizure was conducted "to prevent the illegal exportation of U.S. technologies and enforce U.S. export control laws."

The latest news about the escalating conflict between the West and Iran can be found at WWIII.news.

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