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Terror Airlines? Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps runs country’s largest airline, report says

Emanuele Ottolenghi
8th November 2017 - Quoted by Ben Evansky - Fox News

A new report released by an Iranian opposition group claims that Iran’s biggest airline — Mahan Air — is run by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and its Qods Force. This force is commanded by notorious Iranian General Qasem Soleimani.

The new report published by the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) states that the so-called private airline, Iran’s largest commercial airliner, is anything but commercial, and in fact works as a tool for Iran’s expansionist policies. President Donald Trump sanctioned the IRGC last month for supporting terrorism.

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Emanuele Ottolenghi, who does not have anything to do with the publication of the NCRI report, is an expert on Iran sanctions and its aviation sector. He told Fox News, “Mahan CEO Hamid Arabnejad Khanooki and QF (Qods Force) Commander Qassem Soleimani are both Kermanis. And Arabnejad is a former IRGC commander. It is not a formal relationship, but is based on informal bonds or origin, militancy and ideology.”

Ottolenghi is senior fellow at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies in Washington D.C. He has written widely on nonnuclear sanctions against Iran and has testified to Congress on the subject. He pointed to Executive Order 13224 signed by President George W. Bush shortly after the 9/11 terrorist attacks that gives the administration powerful tools to confront terrorist funding.

(It) “allows them to target enablers and providers of material support to Mahan. Any company selling parts, offering maintenance services, can be hit by fines or sanctions. Same for those operating as cargo sales, general sales and ticket sales agents. Ditto for ground services suppliers at airports. These include fueling, baggage handling, crew services, catering, etc.”

Ottolenghi continued, “Similarly the administration can sanction the Iranian airports whence Mahan troop flights to Syria leave. It can sanction the company that provides fuel to Mahan in Iran. If it knows banks involved in managing payments in Europe for Mahan Air’s transactions on these services, it can similarly sanction them or at least impose fines,” he said. “In short a lot more can be done.”

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Read more here.

Tags

iran, irgc, mahan-air