Iran urges Argentina to lift plane crew's exit ban 'immediately'

Iran urges Argentina to lift plane crew's exit ban 'immediately'
2 min read
Iran has summoned Argentina's charge d'affaires in Tehran to urge Buenos Aires to lift restrictions on five Iranian crew members whose plane was detained by Argentinian authorities in June.
14 Venezuelan and five Iranian crew members have been prevented from leaving Argentina pending an investigation [Getty]

Tehran said on Wednesday it summoned the Argentinian charge d'affaires to call for the "immediate" lifting of exit restrictions on five Iranian crew members of a plane seized by Argentina.

The Boeing 747 cargo plane, which has been grounded since June, was reportedly carrying car parts. Its 14 Venezuelan and five Iranian crew members have been prevented from leaving the country pending an investigation.

Iran's foreign ministry conveyed to the Argentine diplomat "the grave concern of the Iranian government and the families of the Iranian crew regarding the continued seizure of their travel documents and the restriction on their exit from the country," it said in a statement.

It said the block on their exit amounted to "human rights violations".

"Iran asks the government of Argentina to fulfil its duties and responsibilities in order to lift the restrictions and facilitate the immediate departure of the five Iranian crew members," it added.

The plane belongs to Emtrasur, a subsidiary of Venezuela's Conviasa, which is under US sanctions. Conviasa purchased the plane from Tehran's Mahan Air last year, Iranian officials said.

The United States has accused Mahan Air of links to Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corp, which Washington has designated a terrorist organisation.

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In June, Argentine President Alberto Fernandez said the plane had been grounded due only to fuelling difficulties linked to US sanctions on Venezuela, not because of any alleged link to Iran's IRGC.

"The status of the Venezuelan plane and its Iranian crew members is completely legal within the framework of international law and aviation conventions, and in this regard, there are no claims against the Iranian nationals," the Iranian foreign ministry statement said.

The plane arrived in Argentina from Mexico on June 6, before trying to fly to Uruguay two days later, where it was refused entry.

Uruguay's Interior Minister Luis Alberto Heber said his country had received a "formal warning from Paraguayan intelligence."

The plane then returned to Argentina where it has been grounded ever since.