The Utah plane in Iran had many raising the specter of conspiracy theories, but now it turns the Bank Of Utah is holding in trust a jet used by a mining company out of Ghana, a small country in West Africa. But it’s possible this loophole violates US sanctions against Iran, and it’s also possible Iran is attempting to find another source for its nuclear weapons programs.
In a related report by The Inquisitr, Brett King, a Bank of Utah executive in Salt Lake City, claimed they did not know why their jet was in Iran:
“We have no idea why that plane was at that airport. As fiduciary, we must keep information confidential when it comes to the beneficiary.”
The Bank of Utah is listed as a trustee for 1,169 aircraft, ranging from Boeing 747s to single-engine Cessnas. The reason this incident became headline news is because the jet clearly was marked as coming from the United States due to the flag on its tail. America currently has levied heavy economic sanctions against Iran, meaning that no companies based in the US should be able to do business in the Muslim theocratic country.
The conspiracy theory angle was asked of several former federal officials in the United States, and they claimed the Utah plane in Iran must have been approved land. They also doubted the jet was shuttling officials out of the United States for some sort of secret covert diplomatic mission since the American flag was so easily spotted in broad daylight.
As it turns out, it’s said the Bank of Utah plane in Iran was there to shuttle “top Ghanaian officials” who are trying to increase the level of cooperation between Iran and Ghana. The jet was leased by a Ghanaian mining company called Engineers and Planners, which is owned by Ibrahim Mahama, brother of Ghana’s president, Dramani Mahama.
Of course, the real story still raises some questions. The country of Ghana currently enjoys good relations with the United States, so to risk opposing the economic sanctions imposed by America and much of Europe. While Ghana technically is not bound by any of the sanctions, the Bank of Utah certainly falls within these boundaries. In order for the Utah plane in Iran to have traveled there in the first place, it would have been approved by the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control. In addition, since the jet’s engine designs by General Electric are confidential, it’s claimed the Commerce Department would need to approve the visit.
According to the New York Times, neither the Bank of Utah or the mining company from Ghana were approved:
“The Office of Foreign Assets Control did not issue a license for the plane’s flight to Iran, according to two people briefed on the matter, raising questions about whether its flight had flouted American law. Treasury officials declined to comment.”
In the past, Iran has attempted to strengthen relations with West African countries in attempts to find sources of uranium for its nuclear weapons program. Ghana’s president was previously invited to Iran to discuss “issues of mutual interests.” While the country Niger is more well known as being a leading producer of uranium, it’s possible that Ghana’s mining companies may have hit a major uranium deposit.
Unfortunately, US Secretary of State John Kerry recently claimed Iran could be very close to producing its first nuclear WMD:
“I think it is fair to say, I think it is public knowledge today, that we are operating with a time period for a so-called breakout of about two months.”
Kerry said the United States is trying to push back Iran’s capability by only six to 12 months, and they are discussing loosening economic sanctions if Iran were to lessen its enriched uranium stockpiles. Yuval Steinitz, Israel’s security and strategic affairs minister, says this type of compromise is unacceptable:
“The things Kerry said are worrying, they are surprising and they are unacceptable. We are not opposed to a diplomatic solution but we are against a solution which is entirely a surrender to Iran and which leaves it a threshold nuclear state.”
Kerry and Israel have previously disagreed on how to deal with Iran, with Israel still willing to launch military strikes on Iran’s nuclear sites if deemed necessary. But could the sighting of the Utah plane in Iran throw a monkey wrench into the works of the talks with Iran?
Back in 2008, Dr. B.J.B. Nyarko, Director of Ghana Atomic Energy Commission, claimed the country’s mining companies had a chance of finding uranium deposits in “commercial quantities” based upon finding traces of uranium within their gold mines. At the time, it was claimed that further exploration was needed to establish the link.
In 2010, the uranium deposits were apparently confirmed:
“Ghana has made more discoveries of mineral deposits which are expected to boost the country’s economy and development. The deposits include copper, phosphate, nickel, chromium and uranium. The government has, therefore, invited the investor community to partner it to develop the country’s enormous natural resources in an efficient, economic and environmentally sustainable manner that will ensure the sustainable development of the country.”
Presumably because of these uranium deposits, Robert Sogbadjie, the national coordinator of the Ghana Nuclear Power Program Organization (GNPPO), spoke about Ghana producing nuclear energy within 15 years. They also discussed “exporting” their nuclear power, but at the time this was in the context of selling energy over the electrical grid, not giving uranium to Iran. Either way, they were expecting their nuclear energy program to become the “second highest foreign exchange earner” for Ghana. Russia and China were also said to be working with Ghana to set up their nuclear reactor, with both countries interested in “uranium production in third [world] countries” like Ghana.
Still, none of the government officials from any of these countries have confirmed the reason for having the Utah plane in Iran. The only facts we know for certain is that the jet is being used by top officials in Ghana; the economic sanctions were imposed precisely because of Iran’s nuclear weapons programs, and Ghana is known to have uranium. At the same time, the recent Iran nuclear deal supposedly has already reduced their stockpiles of enriched uranium by 75 percent, putting them well below the threshold necessary to create a WMD. Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani says they are trying to prove to the world they are not seeking nuclear weapons.
[UPDATE] It’s possible that Iran and Ghana officials were meeting together to discuss a natural gas deal.
What do you think is really going on?