It would be necessary to investigate what happened during the stopover made in Córdoba by the Boeing 747-3B3(M), in cargo configuration, registration YV3531, which was owned by the Iranian company Mahan Air until January, and was transferred to Emtrasur Cargo, a subsidiary of the Venezuelan state company Consorcio Venezolano de Industrias Aeronauticas y Servicios Aéreos (Conviasa). It should also be clarified why does a record appear with at least six Iranian crew members and another raised in Ezeiza where there are only five. And, more importantly, the plane’s cargo must be inspected by weapons experts to determine if the alleged “auto parts” do not hide parts for the manufacture of drones for military use.
This is what it suggests Joseph M. Humire, a security expert, specializing in the analysis of trans-regional threat networks, and executive director of the Washington-based Center for a Secure Free Society. And he does so from a complementary view of academia (master’s degrees in economics and international relations from George Mason University) and practice. he is also a former Marine with combat experience in Iraq. That makes him a regular guest on global news networks. And now he does it with Infobae from his office on 15th Street NW in Washington.
– Why is this flight, its cargo and crew listed as suspicious? What could link this plane to terrorism?
-The suspicion that this flight may present a covert action or threat to regional security is based on knowledge of how the regimes in Iran and Venezuela and their state flights operate. For those who closely follow the civil war in Syria, Mahan Air is well known for transporting weapons to terrorists and Iranian soldiers in that country. Conviasa, on the Venezuelan side, is known for facilitating Iranian military moves in Latin America. Conviasa owns Emtrasur. Until recently, the plane belonged to Mahan Air. And Emtrasur is not a private or commercial airline. It is a state airline that has strategic functions for the Maduro regime and his allies in Iran.
-What could five Iranians and 14 Venezuelans have been doing on a cargo plane, some of them linked to the intelligence services of their countries?
It probably has to do with a military transfer (materials, personnel, technology, etc.) and it is surely not the first time they have done it.
-Could they have made some kind of delivery of weapons?
I don’t know if they will be weapons as such. I think rather that they are parts and components for the new drones in Venezuela, which are under the supervision of Iran. This new Emtrasur airline is part of that effort by the Maduro regime in Venezuela to manufacture military drones.
–Could they have been operating for Russia, which now needs weapons for its invasion of Ukraine?
Possible, but I doubt it. Russia is a close ally of both Iran and Venezuela.
-If this plane moved shipments of contraband cigarettes from Ciudad del Este to Aruba, do you think it could be smuggling other items (drugs, weapons, etc.) on that particular route?
The trip to Ciudad del Este seems to me to have been a payment for other services. As we already know, the financiers of the Iran and Hezbollah networks operate there, in the Triple Frontier. It is possible that there was some kind of economic triangulation that involved the delivery of contraband cigarettes in exchange for money laundering or the delivery of weapons.
-If this plane had not been on the US Treasury Department’s list of sanctions, do you think it could have been detected?
-No, without that international alert this plane and so many others would have gone unnoticed. That is why it is very important that the Biden administration take this case as an example to follow and can show that sanctions are important. If Mahan Air and Conviasa had not been sanctioned, this plane with possible nefarious intentions could have gone unnoticed in Argentina.
-In a tweet, you said that it was necessary to investigate what the plane did when it landed in the city of Córdoba, supposedly because Ezeiza was closed due to fog. Why do you think the stopover in Córdoba is key?
-Córdoba has always been a city of interest to Iranians for its military industry and aviation that exists in that city.
In the tweet he specified:
Córdoba is home to Argentine arms manufacturer Fabricaciones Militares FM which, since 2012, has had an MOU (agreement) with CAVIM, Venezuela’s defense logistics arm and Iran’s strategic military partner.
This could help explain the possible covert purpose of this flight.
More than a month ago, the Argentine Minister of Defense inaugurated with FAdeA in Córdoba a new Pampa III advanced training aircraft with aviation technology/parts similar to those used in other aircraft that Maduro is developing in Vz with the guidance of Iran.
The airline in question, Emtrasur, is a cargo subsidiary of the Vz state airline, Conviasa, inaugurated in Nov 2021 during the 1st anniversary of the National Aeronautical Company EANSA, which is a joint project between Conviasa and CAVIM.
EANSA and CAVIM manage the procurement for the Vz drone program, which is where Iran comes in.
For 15 years, Iran has developed the Vz drone program to the point where the Maduro regime is on the verge of having operational combat drones modeled after the IRGC’s Mohajer-6.
Iran is a master of dual-use operations that mix the commercial with the military. What it says “auto parts” could be other parts used for the sanctioned Iran-Vz joint military programs.
The Emtrasur plane regularly travels to Russia and Serbia and previously to Belarus. Is it also for auto parts?
-Were there more Iranian citizens on the plane than appear in the minutes? What could have happened to them?
I don’t know, but I do know that there is a list that they have in Argentina that adds six Iranians instead of the five that were registered in the migration record. Now, maybe that other list was a mistake. It shouldn’t be ruled out. But it may also be that someone was identified when the flight arrived in Argentina on June 6 and was not registered when the plane was stopped and the minutes were drawn up two days later. But it seems to me a valid question to ask the Argentine government.
-Could the mission of this flight have been to test the reaction of Argentine security in preparation for some type of subsequent action?
I do not think so. They already have a lot of information. There were several other similar flights like this one that arrived in Argentina in previous months and years. I am not referring to this particular plane but to other planes coming from Venezuela and Bolivia with a similar covert mission. Furthermore, the cost of this Emtrasur YV3531 flight is too high for it to have been used for only one test. But it could have fulfilled several functions at the same time and that balances the expenses.
-The pilot of the plane, Captain Gholamreza Ghasemi, was a military aviator of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard and director of at least two airlines linked to this organization and the Al Quds commandos of Iran (Qeshm Fars Air and Karum Airlines). Is this man an Iranian covert agent operating in Latin America with the protection of Venezuela?
-I don’t have precise information about this man, but I know that the pilots for these flights are chosen very carefully because they need to have experience not only in aviation but also in intelligence. Iran is a master at this type of dual-use operation.
-You state that the load of the supposed auto parts can be easily confused with those of spare parts for weapons such as drones for military use. Should the cargo be checked by weapons experts?
-If not already done, inspectors with knowledge of aviation technology and mechanics should inspect the cargo as “auto parts” may be similar to aircraft parts that are under sanctions and are used in the assembly of aircraft. military drones.
The secrets behind the Ezeiza plane: Unit 190 of the Iranian Quds Forces and an expert pilot in weapons transport