No Quds Force member on grounded plane, Argentina says
As the crew remained barred from exiting Argentina pending investigations into the flight's purpose and origins, Security Minister Anibal Fernandez said one of the men shared a name with a Quds Force member, nothing more.
The man, Gholamreza Ghasemi, is one of five Iranian crew members who had their passports seized after the Venezuelan Boeing 747 cargo plane was grounded in Argentina a week ago.
On Tuesday, a judge ruled the 14 Venezuelan crew may also not leave, after police searched the crew members's hotel rooms and seized cell phones and documents.
On Monday, Argentina officials raised suspicions of a link between the flight and Iran's Revolutionary Guards, listed as a foreign "terrorist organization" by the United States.
The plane, reportedly carrying car parts, came in from Mexico to land in Cordoba, Argentina on Monday last week.
It then tried to travel to neighboring Uruguay, but was denied entry and returned to Ezeiza outside Buenos Aires two days later.
The plane belongs to Emtrasur, a subsidiary of Venezuela's Conviasa, which is under US sanctions.
A judge grounded the plane based on a "reasonable suspicion that the reason given for entering (Argentina) might not be true."
On Tuesday, Paraguay said two officials who had authorized the landing of the plane there in May had been dismissed and two anti-drug agents were under investigation.
Interior Minister Federico Gonzalez said only after it had left did Paraguay receive information that "the aircraft is sanctioned by the United States Treasury Department and that seven of the crew members are members of the Al Quds forces (of the Guards) and that the United States has them on a list of terrorists."
Fernandez said on Wednesday none of the crew members were on an Interpol red list, and there had been no reason to prevent them from entering Argentina.
Iran has said Argentina's move was part of a "propaganda" campaign against Tehran amid tensions with Western countries over negotiations to revive a 2015 nuclear deal.
Iran's foreign ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said the plane was sold by Iran's Mahan Air to a Venezuelan company last year.
Mahan Air is accused by the United States of links with the Revolutionary Guards.
Interpol has arrest warrants out for former Iranian leaders suspected of involvement in an attack on a Jewish center in Buenos Aires in 1994 that killed 85 people and injured hundreds.