The Wall Street Journal asks Joe Biden to deny Alberto Fernández economic aid for ties to Iran

The Wall Street Journal asks Joe Biden to deny Alberto Fernández economic aid for ties to Iran

The American newspaper Wall Street Journal suggested that the president of the United States , Joe Biden , should reject the requests for economic aid that his Argentine counterpart, Alberto Fernández , carries in the next meeting that both will share in Washington, for authorizing the landing of the plane with an Iranian crew held in Ezeiza and the possible “management under the table” between Kirchnerism and Iran.

Journalist Mary Anastasia O’Grady ‘s column is titled “Iran and a suspicious flight to Argentina”.

The article argues that ” Argentina’s deplorable record in paying its debt is one of the reasons for not giving them the money.” And he adds that there is another reason to cut back on financial aid. “There is a second reason, perhaps more important, and it has to do with the Venezuelan-flagged plane that has been stranded on the runway at Ezeiza International Airport since June 8. The aircraft, whose Iranian operator is subject to US sanctions, was authorized to land at Ezeiza by Argentine aviation authorities on June 6, with a crew of 14 Venezuelans and Iranians, including at least one senior Tehran official. O’Grady points out.

The journalist attributes the unsuccessful intention of wanting to ” sweep the episode under the rug” to the Federal Intelligence Agency (AFI) .

A Venezuelan-owned Boeing 747 rolls on the runway after landing at Ambrosio Taravella airport, Monday, June 6, 2022, in Córdoba, Argentina. (AP Photo/Sebastian Borsero)
The text recalls the investigation requests presented by deputy Gerardo Milman , of Together for Change, and his intention to investigate whether the flight “had the objective of supplying technical equipment to establish a ‘cyberintelligence operations base’ in Argentina. with Venezuelan agents.

“This is not surprising, since Venezuela, Cuba, Iran and Russia have been operating for decades to penetrate the democracies of the region . More disturbing are the questions that Milman raises about what the government of President Alberto Fernández and Vice President Cristina Kirchner knew about the Venezuelans and Iranians who were on the plane, ”says O’Grady.

The journalist assures in the text that a “source close to the subject” assured her that ” elements used for military cyber defense operations ” were found on the plane . The article also reviews the links of the pilot Gholamreza Ghasemi with “the Iranian airline Fars Air Qeshm, on which sanctions from the United States weigh”, and that he recalls that he would be “a high-ranking member of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps”. “Three of the Venezuelans on board the plane are experts in military cyber defense ,” says the article, which was published this Sunday.

“President Fernández ruled out the idea that there is something ‘dark’ behind the plane -the journalist recalls-. The Argentine security minister assured that the pilot was simply a namesake of Ghasemi who belongs to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard. But Paraguayan intelligence contradicted him and assured that the pilot of the ship and the member of the Revolutionary Guard are the same person. If true, it would be hard to justify the presence of such a high-ranking official on a routine cargo plane in Latin America. Agustín Rossi, head of the AFI, said last month that the Iranians were serving as flight instructors for the Venezuelan crew members. That reminds me of what the Venezuelan ambassador in Washington told me in the early 2000s: that the Cuban agents flooding Venezuela had gone to teach the population to read and write.”

In its last paragraphs, the article asks again that the case of the plane have consequences in the financial aid of the United States to the Argentine government: “If Argentina has management under the table With Iran, the issue directly concerns the US Treasury Department. 30% of the IDB is owned by the United States. The Treasury is in charge of enforcing US sanctions, but it also exercises its power over bank loan disbursements. The IDB is a cooperative that depends on the credibility of the United States in the markets to obtain funds from global investors and thus be able to lend them to member countries. Credit rating agencies and auditors hold you accountable. Therefore, it must absorb losses when debtors default, and its loans are limited by its bank capital. Therefore, the IDB has to evaluate which countries are the most deserving of those funds.”

“And in this competition -he concludes-, the credit rating is not up to par. Nor is their cooperation on security matters, as evidenced by the grounded plane. As long as the Argentine government’s efforts to protect the Western Hemisphere from the reach of Venezuela, Iran and Russia are not entirely honest, the Biden administration should simply say no.”

Ben Oakley
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