US rolls out new sanctions against Iran’s Mahan Air

Mahan Airlines, operating under the name Mahan Air – a privately owned Iranian airline based in Tehran, which has been a target of US sanctions since 2011, has been repeatedly accused by Washington of having deep ties with the Iraninan Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) and regularly transporting its troops and hardware around the region.

Yesterday US announced new sanctions against Mahan Air, accused of “weapons of mass destruction proliferation” and transportation of lethal aid to Yemen.

“The Iranian regime uses its aviation and shipping industries to supply its regional terrorist and militant groups with weapons, directly contributing to the devastating humanitarian crises in Syria and Yemen,” US Secretary of the Treasury Steven T. Mnuchin said in a statement.

This time, the airline was sanctioned under the Executive Oder 13382 which targets “proliferators of weapons of mass destruction and their supporters.” It was not immediately clear how exactly the company engaged in such alleged activities.

The Treasury sanctioned three general sales agents of Mahan Air, as well as dozens of aircraft belonging to or operated by the airline.

Besides the air carrier, the sanctions also targeted an Iranian businessman, Abdolhossein Khedri, and two shipping companies belonging to him. The businessman stands accused of “terrorism support” and partaking in the IRGC “smuggling operations.”

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the move is part of “maximum pressure campaign of sanctions against Iran.”

Mahan Air is the largest privately-owned airline of Iran, boasting a fleet of 55 aircraft. The company operates scheduled flights to over 40 domestic and international destinations.