Iranian plane sanctioned by US lands in Venezuela

It is unclear what the aircraft brought. The United States maintains sanctions on both Iran and Venezuela.

al-monitor A Qeshm Fars Air Boeing 747 landed in Venezuela on Oct. 27, 2020. Here, the nose door of a Qeshm Fars Air 747-200F cargo plane is seen open in this photo dated Jan. 9, 2018.  Photo by Gsmar/Wikipedia.

Oct 28, 2020

A cargo plane belonging to an Iranian airline sanctioned by the United States landed in Venezuela on Tuesday. It is not clear what the plane brought amid continued US pressure on both Iran and its South American ally.

The Qeshm Fars Air flight landed in the Venezuelan capital, Caracas, from Iran, the Venezuelan opposition politician Jose Manuel Olivares said in a tweet Tuesday. Reuters reported that that the EP-FAB Boeing 747 took off from Iran and made stops in Tunisia and Cape Verde before reaching Venezuela. It is unclear what the aircraft transported, according to the outlet.

The US Department of the Treasury sanctioned Qeshm Fars Air in 2019 for providing support to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, which the United States designates as a terrorist organization.

The United States sanctions both Iran and Venezuela. The US government accuses Iran of building a nuclear weapon and opposes its proxy groups that fight the United States and its allies in the Gulf and Israel. The United States supports an opposition government to socialist President Nicolas Maduro’s in Venezuela.

The shared sanctions have led to the Islamic and Bolivarian republics to develop a close political and economic relationship. In October, Iran successfully completed another round of fuel deliveries to Venezuela.

Regarding military relations, in August, the Venezuelan news site Caracas Chonicles reported that US customs officials seized a Venezuela-bound plane full of weapons. The outlet said the plane was tied to Alex Saab, who is reportedly Maduro’s envoy to Iran. The Associated Press also reported the seizure, but did not mention any connections to Iran. A Customs and Border Protection spokesman declined to provide further details on the seizure to Al-Monitor at the time.

Latin America is an area of focus for US President Donald Trump’s policies on deterring Iranian influence. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo praised Guatemala this week for agreeing to designate the Iran-backed Lebanese group Hezbollah as a terrorist organization. Some analysts dispute how entrenched Iran really is on the continent.

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