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Germany sanctions Iranian airline

Lewis Sanders IV
January 21, 2019

For months now, European countries have called for concrete action against entities linked to Iranian intelligence. Mahan Air reportedly maintains close ties to an elite group of Iran's security services.

A Mahan Air aircraft
Image: AFP/Getty Images/M. Huwais

The German government on Monday imposed sanctions against Iranian airline Mahan Air in connection to Iran's illegal activities in Europe, including the discovery of a spy working as a translator for the country's armed forces .

Germany's Federal Aviation Office withdrew Mahan Air's operating permit in Germany with immediate effect.

A spokesperson for the Transport Ministry said the airline had been informed it had to suspend all connections in and out of Germany.

Mahan Air cargo flights to Syria and other war zones made teh move vital to "protect Germany's foreign and security policy interests," a Foreign Ministry spokesperson added.

For years, US authorities have accused Mahan Air of maintaining close ties to the elite Quds Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps. In 2011, the US Treasury designated Mahan Air a material supporter of terrorism for supporting the group.

A threat to Europe

Earlier this month, European authorities imposed punitive measures against Iran's Intelligence and Security Ministry for thwarted attacks and assassination attempts against Iranian opposition in France, Denmark, the Netherlands and other EU countries.

Iranian agents have been accused of attempting to bomb an opposition rally in Paris and assassinate Iranian Arab dissidents in Denmark and the Netherlands.

In July, Germany arrested and later deported an Iranian diplomat for providing a Belgian-Iranian couple with a bomb to commit the attack in Paris.

Read more: US welcomes German firms' compliance on Iran sanctions

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