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US government adds Iranian carriers, aircraft to sanctions

The US government has added Airbus A340 VIP operator Dena Airways to a list of sanctioned Iranian carriers and targeted 31 aircraft used by four other Iranian airlines for new sanctions.

Anyone who has a business relationship with any of the five carriers – including Mahan Air, Caspian Airlines, Meraj Air and Pouya Air – are at risk of violating the sanctions, the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) says in a 24 May announcement.

The sanctions cover a variety of services, including logistics, maintenance, catering, codeshare agreement, distribution, ticketing, marketing and freight forwarding, OFAC says.

The actions come two weeks after the US government decided to withdraw from a three-year-old agreement with Iran and five other countries. By ending the US government’s participation in the deal, old sanctions on Iran Air and other Iranian carriers are expected to come back into force on 6 August.

The order on 24 May also designates a Turkey-based logistics network of companies and individuals and what the US government describes as an Iranian-based shell company called Blue Airways for new sanctions.

Three individuals targeted under the sanctions are Iranians Iraj Ronaghi and Touraj Zanganeh, who are linked with Meraj Air, and Istanbul-based Gulnihal Yegane, who is linked to Mahan Air, OFAC says.

Five logistics providers now on the sanctions include four Istanbul-based firms: 3G Lojistik Ve Havacilik Hizmetlari, Otik Aviation, RA Havacilik Jojistik Ve Tasimacilik Ticaret and Trigron Lojistik Kargo. Another Tehran-based company now on the list is Blue Airways, OFAC says.

Dena Air is sanctioned after taking over operation in November of a VIP A340 used as a transport for Iranian government, OFAC says.

The addition of Dena Air to the list drew criticism from Trita Parsi, director of the Washignton DC-based National Iranian-American Council.

“So what’s Trump’s aim?” Parsi says on Twitter. “Humiliate Iran’s moderates and strengthen its hardliners.”

The specific aircraft added to the sanctions list are:

  • Two Airbus A300s with registration EP-SIF and EP-SIG
  • Two A310s with registration EP-MNF and EP-MMJ
  • Three A320s with registration EP-AJC, EP-AJH and EP-AJI
  • Three A340s with registration EP-MMA, EP-MMB and EP-MMC
  • Two Antonov An-74s with registration EP-PUL and EP-PUM
  • Four Bae RJ85s with registration EP-MOP, EP-MOQ, EP-MOR and EP-MOS
  • Three Bae 146s with registration EP-MMV EP-MOD and EP-MOM
  • Three Boeing 737s with registration EP-CAP, EP-CAQ and EP-CAR
  • Two Embraer ERJ-145s with registration EP-LDA and EP-LDC
  • One Ilyushin Il-76 with registration EP-PUL
  • Six McDonnell Douglas DC-9s with registration EP-CAS, EP-CPD, EP-CPU, EP-CPV, EP-CPX and EP-CPZ.
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