Radio Free Europe

RFE/RL journalists report the news in 22 countries where a free press is banned by the government or not fully established, including Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Russia.

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Argentina Seizes Venezuelan Plane Linked To Iran

Authorities in Argentina have seized a Venezuelan Boeing 747 cargo plane with links to Iran due to questions over stated reasons for the aircraft entering the country.

The Emtrasur cargo plane arrived in Buenos Aires on June 8, flight-tracking data show. It was then seized by the authorities, an Argentinian opposition lawmaker and Iranian media said on June 12.

Questions remain over the ownership of the plane.

Argentina's government has not publicly confirmed the action.

But an Interior Ministry document shared with Reuters said authorities had grounded the craft because of suspicions over the stated reason for its entry into the South American country.

According to Mahan Air, the company sold the plane to a Venezuelan company a year ago and has no connection to the airline or Iran.

"Mentioning Mahan Air in connection with the impounded airplane is aimed at political purposes," airline spokesman Amir Hossein Zolanvari told Iranian state media.

He said the plane's crew has no connection to Mahan Air.

The U.S. Treasury Department in 2011 placed sanctions on Mahan Air for allegedly "providing financial, material, and technological support" for Iran's elite Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, which the State Department has designated as a foreign terrorist organization.

The department also accused Mahan Air of transporting weapons, goods, and personnel to Lebanon's Iran-backed Hizballah group.

Iran and Venezuela are both subject to U.S. sanctions and have developed close ties.

The two on June 11 signed a 20-year cooperation plan in the fields of oil, petrochemicals, tourism, and culture.

Based on reporting by Reuters and AP

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