United States treasury has imposed new sanctions on Iran’s Mahan Air airlines and its shipping industry. Washington has accused Iran’s biggest airline company of transporting lethal aid from Iran to Yemen. It has also accused its shipping industry of transporting weapons of mass destruction proliferation to the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps and it’s elite foreign paramilitary and espionage arm, the Quds force.
The treasury sanctions freeze any US assets of those targeted as well as prohibit Americans from doing any kind of business with them. US Secretary of States Mike Pompeo has said that Washington has targetted three general sales agents of Mahan Air over the role of Airline in the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. The new sanctions have come just days after a prisoner swap took place between the US and Iran. The prisoner swap which was facilitated by the Swiss government was a rare act of cooperation between the two nations since US President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew from 2015 Iran nuclear accord with world powers. The prisoner swap was viewed as a potential breakthrough between Washington and Tehran following months of escalating tensions.
According to a Treasury Department statement, actions against this lethal aid was yet another example of the US government cutting off all avenues for the delivery of weapons to Houthi rebels in Yemen. It also said that the designations provide another warning to the international aviation community of the risk for individuals and entities that choose to maintain commercial relationships with Mahan Air and other designated airlines. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement that 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. Mahan Air has previously been blacklisted for allegedly supporting the IRGC-QF, Hezbollah and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.