New US Sanctions Target Operator of Iran's Presidential Aircraft
The US Treasury on Thursday announced a new round of targeted sanctions designations, including sanctions on Dena Airways, the company which operates the Iran’s presidential aircraft used by Hassan Rouhani for official travel.
The new sanctions follow the designation of Iran’s central bank governor, Valliollah Seif, and reflect a further direct targeting of the Rouhani administration.
Dena Airways is the company which operates EP-DAA, an Airbus A340. Until November 2017, the aircraft was registered to Meraj Airways, an entity which was previously sanctioned as part of the Specially Designated Nationals list, known as the SDN list.
The new sanctions on Dena could prevent the use of the use of the company’s sole registered aircraft for official travel, as ground handling companies worldwide may refuse to refuel or service the aircraft. In February, a Meraj-registered aircraft used by Foreign Minister Javad Zarif to attend the Munich Security Conference needed to be refueled by the German military, after companies refused to provide services to the aircraft, citing US sanctions. That aircraft, EP-AGB, was notably left off the list of designations, despite another government liveried aircraft, EP-AJC being added to the SDN list.
The new designations also extend to thirty-one separate aircraft operated by airlines included Mahan, Caspian, and Pouya. These three entities were previously listed on the Office of Foreign Assets Control’s SDN list, and had been targeted due to reported ownership links to the IRGC and to the reported use of aircraft for military airlifts to Syria.
Mahan is Iran’s largest airline by fleet size and number of destinations. The specific targeting of Mahan’s aircraft will inhibit their continued use on commercial flights. For example, EP-MMB, an Airbus A340, flies regular routes to Istanbul, Ankara, Moscow, and Dubai.
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