Home inSight Is Iran’s Mahan Air a ‘Terrorist Airline?’

Is Iran’s Mahan Air a ‘Terrorist Airline?’

Some believe commercial carrier's overflight of US' al-Tanf base in Syria no-fly zone was possible reconnaissance for a missile strike

Stephen Bryen
SOURCEAsia Times

While much coverage of Friday’s incident involving American fighter jets and an Iranian commercial airline appears to put the blame on the US, a closer look at the airline in question suggests a nefarious Iranian purpose.

This is not hard to see when looking at the background of Mahan Air, the airline in question. It is far from being a typical commercial airline.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has called Mahan Air a “terrorist airline.”  But well before that – on December 12, 2011 – the US Department of Treasury announced the designation of Mahan Air as a material and transportation supporter of terrorism, “for providing financial, material and technological support to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force (IRGC-QF).”

According to a US Government Fact Sheet: “Mahan Air has flown IRGC-QF operatives, weapons, equipment, and funds to international locations to support Iranian terrorist proxy groups.  It has been used by the IRGC-QF to fly personnel to and from Iran and Syria for military training, facilitating covert travel of IRGC-QF members by bypassing normal security procedures and flight manifests.”

“The airline’s current chairman and chief executive, Hamid Arabnejad Khanooki, is closely associated with the IRGC, specifically with the division that developed into the Qods Force. The US sanctioned Arabnejad in 2013 for facilitating a shipment of illicit cargo to Syria on Mahan Air aircraft.”