Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro said Wednesday that the United States meant to steal the Emtrasur Boeing 747-300 seized by Argentina's Judiciary at the Ezeiza International Airport pending investigations into the presumed to lie under the transport of auto parts.
While authorities suspect the aircraft and some members of the crew might be linked to Iran-sponsored terrorism, Maduro construed a US prosecutor's request for the freighter to be shipped over as an intention to rob Venezuela's flag carrier Conviasa -of which Emtrasur is a cargo subsidiary- of its unit.
”Now they intend to steal an airplane owned by Venezuela, (which is) in Argentina, by order of an imperial court of the state of Florida, in the United States. They intend to steal from us a gigantic, modern, cargo airplane, Maduro stressed.
The US Department of Justice had requested Argentina to allow it to confiscate the Venezuelan-Iranian aircraft detained since June 6, when it arrived in that country from Mexico.
Maduro asked the Argentine people for all their support to recover that aircraft that belongs to a Venezuelan company and intends to be stolen. He insisted it was a cargo aircraft which fulfilled a fundamental mission in the humanitarian life of Venezuela and that it was in charge of taking humanitarian aid” to Caribbean nations.
According to the North American prosecutors, the US-built aircraft is subject to sanctions since its transfer from Iran's Mahan Air to Emtrasur violates US export laws.
The three carriers have been blacklisted by the United States for their logistical support to terrorist organizations.
The four-engined aircraft landed in Ezeiza with a crew of 19 (5 Iranians and 14 Venezuelans) of whom 4 Iranians and 3 Venezuelans are still in Argentina pending investigations.