Biden blocks investigation into Ir…
WASHINGTON — After Iranians with direct ties to the country’s most prominent designated terrorist organization were detained in Argentina early last month, the Biden administration refused to provide top Argentine law enforcement officials with information confirming links to terrorist activities.
The Biden administration’s apparent deadlock is prompting U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) to demand an explanation for the delay and whether the failure to confirm terrorist ties with a major non-NATO U.S. ally could be due to the president’s continued, desperate, and deeply misguided pursuit of an Iranian nuclear deal.
Ernst directs a letter to United States Attorney General Merrick Garland asking for a rationale for the Justice Department’s decision”unusual delay and lack of responsivenessto formal requests from the Argentine courts for information essential to their investigation of the Iranian suspects. Ernst states that the delay “suggests prioritizing other parts of this administration’s agenda, such as negotiations on a new Iran nuclear deal.”
“If President Biden’s Justice Department is found to be deliberately delaying and ignoring requests from the Argentine judiciary to conduct its investigation – even in the face of treaty obligations – all to prioritize the desperate and misguided prosecution administration of a new Iranian nuclear deal, that would be a disgrace and totally unacceptable. We need immediate assurances that vital information will be delivered quickly, along with a full explanation for the delay,” said Senator Ernst.
On June 6, a plane belonging to Emtrasur Cargo with a crew of five Iranians, including at least one member of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), landed in Argentina. During the inspection, the Argentine Federal Police found that the plane’s cargo contained intelligence technology and related military hardware, providing credible suspicion of malicious activity related to cyber and intelligence operations.
Moreover, the pilot of this plane, Gholamreza Ghasmei, is the CEO of Qeshm Fars Air, an Iranian airline sanctioned by the US Treasury Department. The IRGC, a Designated Foreign Terrorist Organization, uses Fars Air to smuggle weapons, raising questions about Ghasmei’s potential involvement in delivering deadly material supporting the efforts of the Revolutionary Guard Force Islamic-Quds. As a result, the Argentine government detained the plane by court order and currently retains the passports of passengers and crew.
The Argentine judiciary, through a standard procedure called the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) program, requested information from the Ministry of Justice on the potential involvement of the aircraft and its crew in supporting the international terrorism.
Ernst is joined on the letter to Attorney General Garland by Senators Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Lindsey Graham (RS.C.), Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Bill Cassidy, MD (R-La.), James Lankford (R-Okla.), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Kevin Cramer (RN.D.), Rick Scott (R-Fla .), and Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.).
To read the full letter from the senators, click HERE.