By The Free Iranian Staff
In a statement Italian civil aviation authority ENAC announced the ban on Mahan’s flights to Rome and Milan would take effect in mid-December.
“The National Civil Aviation Authority reports that the programs presented by the Iranian airline Mahan Air for the IATA Winter 2019-2020 traffic season (ending 28 March 2020) have been authorized by ENAC only for a limited period of time, up to December 15, 2019, for the purpose of re-booking the passengers who bought the tickets sold in the past few months by the company.”
A U.S. State Department source told Italian newspaper La Stampa: “We welcome the decision of the Italian government to prevent Mahan Air from operating flights to your country.” The Iranian airline is accused of being an arm of the IRGC is subjected to sanctions by Washington.
ENAC has announced that though its license is not revoked, Mahan’s operations has a 45-day window to wind down its flights, and flights will be interrupted as of December 15th. The active license appears to meet with Washington’s approval and the timing to stop the flights is said to be acceptable. The report says that Mahan air in December. The Italian government had announced its decision early October about not renewing Mahan’s permit to fly to Italy.
In July the US Department of Treasury imposed sanctions on Mahan Air for helping the IRGC and its various military proxy operations abroad, including those in Syria and Lebanon.
The State Department asked all countries to prevent Mahan Air flights to their cities, given the persistent violation of the rules and regulations of civil aviation, and the facilitation of malign activities of the Iranian regime. Stopping Mahan Air flights is an important step to take since by collaborating with the sanctioned Iranian airline, Italian companies could in turn be involved in sanctionable activities.
Italy’s move to ban Mahan as the third European country comes after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s visit to the country in October. France banned Mahan Air in March after Germany. Germany did so in January. German Foreign Minister Haiko Maas at the time called Mahan Air’s involvement in military activities, and in particular its support for the transport of troops and weapons, “a threat to German security materials.”
The United States says the Mahan Air is not only financially reliant on the IRGC, but its planes have been used to transport weapons and fighters to the Middle East.
Mahan airlines was founded in 1992 as the first privately owned Iranian and was based out of the Iranian city of Kerman. In recent weeks, Mahan Air announced its partnership with Venezuelan airline Conviasa.