The United States imposed fresh sanctions on Iran’s Mahan Air and Qeshm Air for supporting and collaborating with terror groups in Syria. It also sanctioned the Revolutionary Guards’ foreign arm, the Quds Force, and the Iran-sponsored Afghan militia Fatemiyoun fighting in Syria.
“Treasury’s targeting of Iran-backed militias and other foreign proxies is part of our ongoing pressure campaign to shut down the illicit networks the regime uses to export terrorism and unrest across the globe,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement.
The United States imposed sanctions on Mahan Air in 2011, saying it provided financial and other support to the Revolutionary Guards.
The Treasury said Iran-based Qeshm Fars Air was designated for being owned or controlled by Mahan Air and for providing material support to the Quds Force.
Armenia-based Flight Travel LLC acts for or on behalf of Mahan Air, which transports Iran-allied personnel and weapons to Syria, the Treasury said.
For his part, US Undersecretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Sigal Mandelker said the Treasury is aggressively targeting groups that support Mahan air.
“Iran continues to leverage Mahan Air and its commercial aviation sector to transport individuals and weapons needed to carry out this tragic campaign and to fuel sectarian conflict throughout the region,” she said in the statement.
Speaking on Iran abuses, Mandelker said: “This is a regime that preys on the most vulnerable — coercing children as young as 14-years-old to fight in Syria under the direction of the IRGC-QF (Revolutionary Guards’ Quds Force), and perpetuating widespread suffering and displacement.”
“Iran continues to leverage Mahan Air and its commercial aviation sector to transport individuals and weapons needed to carry out this tragic campaign and to fuel sectarian conflict throughout the region. We are aggressively targeting those who continue to provide commercial support to Mahan Air and other designated airlines, and any who fail to heed our warnings expose themselves to severe sanctions risk.”
The US administration, according to sources, hopes that European countries remaining in the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran follow suit in banning Mahan Air from their airspace in hopes of cutting the flow of large funds to help Iran's foreign proxies in Syria, Yemen, and other regional hotspots.