A dispute involving the United States, Venezuela and Iran ended on February 12 when the Boeing 747-300 freighter with registration YV3531 landed in Florida after departing Argentina, where it had been parked since June 2022.
The four-engine jet would belong to Emtrasur Cargo, a Venezuelan airline that acquired it from Mahan Air, from Iran. However, the United States Department of Justice ordered the confiscation of the aircraft in 2022, as soon as the 747 landed at Ezeiza Airport, in Buenos Aires.
The Boeing was then detained pending the legal decision to hand it over to US authorities. The confiscation, however, took more than 18 months until it was confirmed on Sunday, February 11, when the aircraft was transferred into custody in the United States.
The seizure was based on the United States’ export ban, which alleges that Mahan Air is used by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and Hezbollah to transport weapons and fighter jets.
“The seized American-built aircraft was transferred by a sanctioned Iranian airline in a transaction that violated U.S. export control laws and directly benefited the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, which is a designated terrorist organization,” said Assistant Attorney General Matthew G. Olsen of the Justice Department’s National Security Division.
“The United States’ forfeiture of the Boeing 747 cargo plane culminates over 18 months of planning, coordination, and execution by the United States government and our Argentine counterparts,” said U.S. Attorney Markenzy Lapointe for the Southern District of Florida.
Disassemble and discard
The Boeing 747-300 was manufactured in 1986 and originally delivered to the now-defunct French airline UTA. Six years later, the aircraft started flying with Air France, which took over the competitor.
In 2007, Mahan Air leased the aircraft from the company Blue Sky, according to Planespotters.
The widebody flew configured to carry passengers for several years until in February 2022 it was passed on to Emtrasur Cargo, a subsidiary of Conviasa, Venezuela’s state carrier.
According to the US Department of Justice, the Boeing 747 will now be dismantled and discarded.