The US has placed another Iranian airline on its sanctions list, arguing that it supports Iran’s foreign military ambitions.

The US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated Qeshm Fars Air Jan. 24 for being owned or controlled by Mahan Air, a previously sanctioned Iranian airline.

The US government has long claimed that Mahan Air plays an integral role in supporting the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Quds Force (IRGC-QF) and its proxies in Syria by transporting personnel and weapons

OFAC said that Qeshm Fars Air, which operates two Boeing 747-200s, provides material airlift support to the IRGC-QF, which operates as an expeditionary military organization on behalf of the Iranian government.

“Iran continues to leverage Mahan Air and its commercial aviation sector to transport individuals and weapons needed to carry out this tragic campaign and to fuel sectarian conflict throughout the region,” US under-secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, Sigal Mandelker said.

“We are aggressively targeting those who continue to provide commercial support to Mahan Air and other designated airlines, and any who fail to heed our warnings expose themselves to severe sanctions risk.”

The move comes just days after Germany barred Mahan Air from continuing its scheduled flights to Munich and Duesseldorf.  

OFAC said that since the onset of the Syrian civil war, Iran has routinely relied upon Iranian airlines such as Mahan Air to fly fighters and materiel to Syria to prop up the Assad regime.  

It said that Qeshm Fars Air, which originally operated as a commercial airline between 2006 and 2013, restarted operations in 2017, and its two Boeing 747-200s “have operated regular cargo flights to Damascus, delivering cargo, including weapons shipments, on behalf of the IRGC-QF.  

“Mahan Air employees fill Qeshm Fars Air management positions, and Mahan Air provides technical and operational support for Qeshm Fars Air, facilitating the airline’s illicit operations.  

“Qeshm Fars Air is being designated pursuant to E.O. [Executive Order] 13224 for being owned or controlled by Mahan Air, as well as for assisting in, sponsoring, or providing financial, material or technological support for, or financial or other services to or in support of, the IRGC-QF.”  

OFAC identified the two Boeing 747-200s as EP-FAA and EP-FAB.  It warned that anyone providing support to these aircraft could, in turn, be exposed to US sanctions.

Alan Dron