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The Department of Justice (DOJ) said Monday that it has successfully seized an American-made Boeing 747 cargo plane, previously owned by sanctioned Iranian airline Mahan Air, in accordance with a U.S. District Court final order of forfeiture issued last year.
U.S. officials say Mahan Air, which has ties to the terrorist-designated Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force, sold the aircraft to a Venezuelan cargo airline, in violation of U.S. export control laws.
Assistant Attorney General Matthew Olsen of the DOJ’s National Security Division said in a statement Monday the transaction also “directly benefited the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.”
“The Justice Department is committed to ensuring that the full force of U.S. laws deny hostile state actors the means to engage in malign activities that threaten our national security,” Olsen said.
On Sunday, the government of Argentina transferred the aircraft to U.S. custody, and the DOJ said the aircraft arrived in the Southern District of Florida, where it will be “prepared for disposition.”
U.S. Attorney Matthew Graves for the District of Columbia applauded the “whole-of-government approach” to completing the forfeiture of the aircraft and credited international assistance with the success of the transfer.
“Foreign adversaries — seeking to illegally use American-made products to further their endeavors — need to know that the United States government will work with the international community to hold them accountable for their illegal conduct. The United States appreciates the collaboration with our Argentinian law enforcement and judicial partners,” Graves said.
The Venezuelan government last month issued a harsh statement after an Argentine court decided to support the U.S. request to seize the aircraft, which had been held in Buenos Aires for almost two years.
“With this illegal decision, the Argentine State submits to the powers of American imperialism,” the Venezuelan government statement read.