November 5, 2015 | Quote
Iranian Airline Violates Terms Of Nuclear Deal By Purchasing Planes To Use In Syrian War
One of Iran’s commercial airlines last week bought a U.K.-manufactured jet with the aim of using it to deliver Iranian soldiers and weapons to Syria in support of the embattled regime of President Bashar Assad, International Business Times has learned. The purchase of the aircraft by an Iranian concern represents a clear violation of the deal brokered by the administration of U.S. President Barack Obama, under which Iran pledged to scale back its nuclear program in exchange for a lifting of sanctions, said senior American officials and attorneys who handle issues associated with sanctions compliance.
“Temporary sanctions relief … currently in place does not cover the sale or lease of complete aircraft to Iran,” said Betsy Bourassa, a representative of the Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence within the Treasury Department in Washington. And a representative of the State Department told IBT that it was aware of the sale and is investigating the transaction.
The purchase by Mahan comes at a time when Iran and Russia are intervening militarily in Syria to prop up Assad. For more than a month, Russia has bombed targets where U.S.-armed rebels are stationed. Iran is sending weapons and fighters to expand Hezbollah’s reach on the ground. Combined, Iran and Russia have given Assad the upper hand in the battle against the rebels.
The U.S. could be doing more to block Iranian aircraft purchases, said Emanuele Ottolenghi of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a Washington think tank that is critical of American diplomacy with respect to Iran. The U.S could press for greater financial penalties on those who enable Mahan to acquire planes used in the conflict in Syria, he suggested.
“What the U.S. can do is discourage [companies] from getting involved in these deals by going after [the] whole industry that services Mahan,” Ottolenghi said. “The problem is that all those that have been involved with Mahan before are still there. They are still involved.”
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