Following reports of Iranian airlines using their fleet to help transport arms and personnel to Syria, the US Treasury implemented sanctions, with more action to follow according to the Washington Institute.
The Treasury department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control designated nine entities and individuals involved with providing services to six Iranian airlines supporting the regime’s military activities around the world.
These airlines include Mahan Air, Caspian Airlines, Meraj Air, Dena Airways, Pouya Air, and Blue Airways, the institute reported.
Meraj Pouya and Caspian were previously labeled as airlines that directly support the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps operations in Syria. The newspaper stated that Pouya is the cargo wing of the IRGC and services Syria on a daily basis.
The Treasury has had a history of sanctioning Iranian airlines. In June 2011, Treasury sanctioned the country’s flag carrier, Iran Air, and its subsidiary Iran Air Tours for supporting the IRGC and Iranian Defense Ministry “through the transport and/or transfer of goods for, or on behalf of, these entities.” This included using commercial flights to transport “military-related equipment” and “potentially dangerous cargo” to Syria.
Iran has been known to rename airlines and create new front companies in order to receive wesetern planes for their fleets and services. The institute speculated that after the latest wave of sanctions, these airlines may resort to buying secondhand planes to use as spare parts. They will also resort to finding new ways to maintain the air bridge with Syria.
The Treasury did not include Khamenei’s two aircrafts in their sanction list.