Iran’s Mahan Air has denied media reports claiming the Venezuelan-flagged cargo plane seized by Argentina at the Buenos Aires airport belongs to it, Anadolu news agency reports.
Mahan said in a statement yesterday that the plane seized in Argentina was owned by Venezuela and had nothing to do with the Iranian airline.
The statement came a day after a Venezuelan-flagged Boeing 747, allegedly owned by Iran’s Mahan Air, was reportedly seized by Argentinian civil aviation authorities immediately after arrival at Ezeiza International Airport.
The cargo plane is blacklisted under US sanctions and so was immobilised, it’s five-member crew was detained.
Mahan explained that the plane’s ownership had been transferred to a Venezuelan company.
The statement further said the seizure of the plane had “political motives.”
The incident came during Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s visit to Tehran.
Maduro held talks with top Iranian officials, including President Ebrahim Raisi, in which the two sides reaffirmed their commitment to expanding ties in the face of US sanctions.
Argentina’s Security Minister Fernandez Anibal took to Twitter to confirm the incident, linking the seized plane to Iran’s Mahan Air and saying the five detained men help Iranian passports.
Reports in the Argentinian media said the plane had been leased by Venezuela’s state-owned Konviasa Airlines. Some reports also linked the detained crew to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).
In October 2011, Mahan Air was placed on a sanctions list by the US Department of Treasury, linking it to IRGC’s Quds Force.
In November last year, the airline was hit by a major cyberattack. The hackers said they sought to obtain documents linking it to the IRGC. Mahan Air, however, said it had thwarted the attack.