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US Sanctions Chinese Company for Cooperating with Iran’s Mahan Air

US Sanctions Chinese Company for Cooperating with Iran’s Mahan Air

Wednesday, 20 May, 2020 - 05:00
US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin wears a mask as he walks on the grounds of the White House, May 14, 2020, in Washington. (AP)
Asharq Al-Awsat

The US Treasury on Tuesday slapped sanctions on a Chinese firm for its connections to Iran’s Mahan Air airline.

In a statement, it said it was designating China-based Shanghai Saint Logistics Limited for acting as a general sales agent (GSA) for or on behalf of Iranian airline Mahan Air.

This is the seventh designation of a GSA to Mahan Air since 2018. Mahan Air is designated under counterterrorism authorities for providing support to Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps-Quds Force (IRGC-QF), as well as under a counter proliferation authority that targets weapons of mass destruction proliferators and their supporters.

“The Iranian regime is using Mahan Air to support an illegitimate and corrupt regime in Venezuela, just as it has done for the regime in Syria and for terrorist proxy groups throughout the Middle East,” said Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

“We will not hesitate to target those entities that continue to maintain commercial relationships with Mahan Air.”

“For years, Mahan Air flights have transported terrorists and lethal cargo throughout the Middle East, including to Syria to prop up the murderous Assad regime,” added the Treasury.

Mahan Air is currently operating charter flights to Venezuela for Iranian technicians and technical equipment, using materials sourced from China. This scheme supports the “illegitimate” Maduro regime’s efforts to revive its energy production, languished by its corruption and mismanagement.

“The Government of Venezuela is reportedly paying for this support with gold bars directly from the Central Bank of Venezuela — gold that belongs to the Venezuelan people,” said the Treasury statement.

Mahan Air was designated in October 2011 for providing financial, material, or technological support for or to the IRGC-QF. Mahan Air has transported IRGC-QF operatives, weapons, equipment, and funds abroad in support of the IRGC-QF’s regional operations and has also moved weapons and personnel for the Lebanese Hezbollah party.

Since the onset of the Syrian war, Mahan Air has routinely flown fighters and materiel to Syria to prop up Bashar Assad’s regime, “which has contributed to the regime’s atrocities and displacement of civilians.” In December 2019, the Department of State designated Mahan Air a counter proliferation authority targeting weapons of mass destruction proliferators and their supporters.

Shanghai Saint Logistics Limited is Mahan Air’s cargo GSA in Shanghai, providing services such as freight booking for Mahan Air flights between China and Iran. GSAs are third parties that provide services to an airline. These services range from sales, financial, administrative, and marketing support to freight reception and handling.

As a result of today’s action, all property and interests in property of Shanghai Saint Logistics Limited that are in the United States or in the possession or control of US persons must be blocked and reported to the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).

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