Mahan Air will no longer be allowed to fly to its Italian destinations of Rome and Milan come mid-December. This is according to Reuters, which says the decision came from United States pressure – accusing the airline of transporting military equipment and personnel to war zones in the Middle East. The Iranian carrier is already facing a ban in France and Germany.
In a brief press release (translated), Italy’s air authority ‘ENAC’ said the “Iranian company Mahan Air is authorized to operate until 15 December to re-protect passengers with flights already booked”. It goes on to provide the following details:
“The National Civil Aviation Authority reports that the programs presented by the Iranian airline Mahan Air for the IATA Winter 2019-2020 traffic season (ending 28 March 2020) have been authorized by ENAC only for a limited period of time, until December 15, 2019, for the purpose of re-booking the passengers who purchased the tickets sold in the past few months by the company.”
Reuters reports that the Association of Iranian Airlines (AIA) confirms the ban, giving the following statement to an Iranian media outlet:
“Along with their pressure on our country, the Americans have pressed Italy to stop Mahan Air flights to Rome and Milan,” -Maqsoud Asadi Samani, secretary of the AIA
Sanctions against Iran
According to another Reuters report, the United States’ Trump administration has restored and recently tightened U.S. sanctions in an attempt to force the country to negotiate a broader deal. This includes limiting its ballistic missile program and regional activities. Before these efforts by the Trump administration, an Obama-era deal had been struck easing sanctions in exchange for a reduction in Iran’s nuclear program.
When the Obama-era ‘nuclear deal’ was signed, Iran Air had immediately placed aircraft orders with both Airbus and Boeing. According to Airliner Watch, this included 15 777-300ER, 15 777-9, and 50 737 MAX. From Airbus, it had ordered 38 A330 family aircraft, 46 A320 family aircraft, and 16 A350XWB. However, the current US administration backed out of this deal in 2018 and re-imposed sanctions.
Because of US pressure, Germany revoked the Mahan Air’s license in January, while France followed suit in March. France accuses it of “transporting military equipment and personnel to Syria and other Middle East war zones”.
Clearly the US is using its European allies to impose these restrictions as a way to further isolate and pressure Iran. Do you think that Iran will eventually bow to this increasing pressure and stop its military buildup? Let us know by leaving a comment.
Simple Flying contacted Mahan Air with a request to comment on the issue. However, no response has been received at the time of publishing this article. We will update this post if anything comes in.