(Adds to airline’s alleged activities from fourth paragraph.)
Oct. 12 (Bloomberg) -- The U.S. imposed sanctions on Mahan Air, an Iranian commercial airline accused of “secretly ferrying operatives, weapons and funds” on behalf of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.
Mahan Air is “yet another facet of the IRGC’s extensive infiltration of Iran’s commercial sector to facilitate its support for terrorism,” said Treasury Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David Cohen, in an e-mailed statement.
Under the designation, U.S. persons are prohibited from engaging in commercial or financial transactions with Mahan Air, and any assets it may hold under U.S. jurisdiction are frozen, the Treasury release said.
The Treasury said that the Tehran-based airline provides transportation, funds transfers and personnel travel services to the Qods Force, the foreign operations unit of the IRGC.
The U.S. Justice Department yesterday alleged that an Iranian member of the Qods Force directed and helped finance a plot to kill the Saudi ambassador to the United States.
“Following the revelation about the IRGC-QF’s use of the international financial system to fund its murder-for-hire plot, today’s action highlights further the undeniable risks of doing business with Iran,” said Cohen.
Mahan Air transported Qods Force personnel to Syria for military training as well as facilitating “covert travel” by suspected Qods Force officers, the Treasury statement said. Mahan Air crews also facilitated arms shipments and money transfers to evade trade restrictions, the statement said.
The Treasury said Mahan Air provides transportation to Hezbollah, the Shiite Muslim group in Lebanon, which the U.S. and Israel classify as a terrorist organization. In addition, the Treasury said, Mahan Air has omitted from cargo manifests “secret weapons shipments” for Hezbollah.
--Editors: Terry Atlas, Steven Komarow
To contact the reporter on this story: Terry Atlas in Washington at email@example.com
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mark Silva at firstname.lastname@example.org -0- Oct/12/2011 15:31 GMT