In a report, the US law enforcement agency said the firms to which Gholamreza Ghasemi is linked gave logistical support to Lebanon’s Hezbollah and Iran’s al-Quds force, accused by AMIA.
The FBI informed federal judge Federico Villena that the pilot of the Venezuelan-Iranian plane held in Ezeiza Gholamreza Ghasemi is “associated” with the Quds Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps and the Hezbollah of Lebanon, both accused of the attack against the AMIA.
In this way, the North American police agency supported the investigation that Villena began due to a DAIA complaint. The report had been requested by the magistrate before the doubts about the pilot’s background.
In a report delivered to the court in Lomas de Zamora and to which Clarín had exclusive access, the FBI stated that Ghasemi’s airline had “direct participation” in different terrorist activities, which complicates his judicial situation in Argentina. Until now, Villena has only withheld his passport, but now he could eventually be charged with attempted espionage or another crime.
Ghasemi is one of the five Iranians who arrived on Monday in a Boeing 747 challenging the Venezuelan Tramsur, to which Uruguay denied permission to land, and then the deputy of Together for Change, Gerardo Milman, made a request for information that Clarín revealed last Friday exclusively and the scandal broke.
The report was released the same day that President Alberto Fernández and his intelligence chief, Agustín Rossi, minimized the scandal and confirmed that Ghasemi came to “train” Venezuelan pilots to fly the 747 cargo.
The Government even admitted that it received an alert from Paraguay and this week, the US and Israel expressed their concern about the presence of the plane in Argentina with an oversized crew that, in addition, turned off the transponder (a kind of GPS of the aircraft) within Argentine airspace. The report fully coincides with yesterday’s statements by the Paraguayan Intelligence Minister, Esteban Aquino.
According to judicial sources consulted by Clarín, the FBI report says that “Ghasemi is CEO and member of the Qeshm Fars Air board of directors ” and warns of financial and economic sanctions against companies or people who collaborate with the firms accused of providing logistical support to the US terrorism
That Qeshm Fars Air company was seized by the United States Treasury in December 2019 “due to its direct involvement in terrorist activity and the assistance it provides to Al Quds”. Both that firm and the Iranian airline Mahan Air – the owner of the Boeing seized in Ezeiza – were designated as “terrorist entities” by the US.
“Qeshm Fars Air operates cargo flights under civilian cover for the Quds Force and the Iranian Revolutionary Guards” and “ uses them to smuggle weapons and sensitive equipment from Iran to Syria, among other things,” the FBI report would say, always according to the sources.
Qeshm Fars Air operates flights between Iran and Syria on a regular basis as part “of the efforts by Iran and the Quds Force to equip Hezbollah with weapons, advanced military components, and the weapons are being smuggled from Iran to Hezbollah in Lebanon using flights. civilians from Tehran to Damascus.
The Argentine justice accused the Islamic Jihad of Hezbollah of being the material author of the 1994 AMIA attack that left 85 dead. And five Iranians, including former al-Quds commanders Vahidi and Rezai, have Interpol red alerts as masterminds of the attack.
The report states that “a plane belonging to Qeshm Fars Air has transferred equipment from Iran to Hezbollah in Lebanon using the route between Tehran and Beirut.”
The FBI then stated that on October 25, 2007, the State Department embargoed the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps under Executive Order 13382 for supporting terrorism. The Treasury Department then charged him with “providing material support to the Taliban and Hezbollah.”
The Quds Force “has had a long history of supporting Hezbollah’s military, paramilitary and terrorist activities, providing guidance, funding, weapons, intelligence, and logistical support.”
That paramilitary group “operates training camps for Hezbollah in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley, and has reportedly trained more than 3,000 Hezbollah fighters” at its training facilities in Iran.
In addition, Al Quds “provides approximately $100 million to $200 million in funding per year to Hezbollah and has assisted Hezbollah in rearming in violation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1701.”
On October 13, 2017, the US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated the Al Quds force “to provide support to various terrorist groups, including Hezbollah.”
On May 15, 2018, OFAC “imposed sanctions on the governor and a senior official of the Central Bank of Iran, an Iraq-based bank and its president, and a key Hezbollah official, all of whom have moved millions of dollars in name of the revolutionary guard to Hezbollah”. This paragraph is a precedent that justifies the refusal of Axion, YPF, and Shell to give fuel to the plane held in Ezeiza.
OFAC charged “Muhammad Qasir (Qasir) with acting for or on behalf of Hezbollah. Qasir acted as a critical conduit for financial disbursements from the Revolutionary Guards to Hezbollah.”
“Qasir is subject to secondary sanctions under the Hezbollah Financial Sanctions Regulations, which implements the Hezbollah International Financing Prevention Act of 2015,” the report would add.
OFAC may “prohibit or impose strict conditions on the opening or maintenance in the United States of a correspondent account or an account payable by a foreign financial institution that knowingly facilitates a significant transaction for Hezbollah, or a person acting on behalf or under the direction of, or owned or controlled by Hezbollah.”