On January 21, Germany announced that it was revoking the license of an Iranian airline. The reason for the revocation was that the airline had assisted in transporting military equipment and personnel to Syria from Iran. The airline was also providing that transportation for supplies and personnel to other Middle Eastern war zones and hot spots.
The ban will take effect immediately. Mahan Air in Tehran did not comment on the ban at the time of the announcement.
Richard Grenell, the U.S. ambassador in Berlin, welcomed the ban. “Mahan Air has flown terrorists, weapons, equipment, and funds to international locations to support Iran’s proxy groups,” said Grenell in a statement. “Iran’s use of Mahan Air to support the Assad regime in Syria, for example, has contributed to incredible human suffering, violence, and political instability felt across the world.
Germany Denies U.S. Pressure in Its Decision
According to a German government spokesman Steffen Seibert, the ban on Mahan Air was not the result of pressure from the Trump administration.
“The German decision is based on considerations of our security needs,” said Seibert. “It cannot be ruled out that this airline could also transport cargo to Germany that threatens our security. This is based on knowledge of past terrorist activities by Iran in Europe.”
European countries have deeper economic ties with the Iranian regime. However, they have had limited success in protecting themselves and Iran from U.S. sanctions, which leaves questions about Iran’s future in the nuclear weapon arena.
U.S. Officials Express Support for German Ban
“We fully support the action today by Germany to counter Iranian-sponsored terrorism in Europe by banning Mahan Air flights. Mahan Air exploits commercial air to support Iranian terrorism by transporting operatives, weapons, and funds throughout the Middle East and beyond,” said John Bolton, a National Security Advisor to U.S. President Donald Trump on Twitter.
Other officials also expressed their support for the decision of the German government. It also appears that this decision falls in with the plans of the Trump administration to isolate the Iranian regime at the international level. The current sanctions have also continued to impact the Iranian economy, which was already under crisis due to the mismanagement and corruption from the regime. Now the increasing level of unemployment and devaluation of the rial that has resulted in an uptick of inflation has also resulted in an increasing number of protests and uprisings by the Iranian people.