Italy looks set to join Germany and France in banning flights by Iran’s Mahan Air. The news was confirmed by an industry official from Iran. The move comes as the US puts increasing pressure against Mahan Air after it was accused of using flights to transport both military equipment and even personnel into the war zones scattered throughout the Middle East. The ban comes after a statement from the Italian Foreign Minister, Luigi Di Maio, where he confirmed that he had spoken to the US Secretary of State about the possibility of following Germany and France. The terms of the ban have not yet been officially announced.
The ban is set to take effect at some point in mid-December, and the news has already been confirmed by the Association of Iranian Airlines (AIA). The recent troubles in Iran have only reinforced the growing international pressure against the country. The current upheavals in Iran and Lebanon have been causing a significant backlash from the international community, and Iran’s suspected duplicity regarding its manufacturing and development of nuclear weapons is only making matters worse.
According to iranconflictnews, nuclear research and development of nuclear missiles are still ongoing, despite the nuclear agreement in place.
The US has banned Mahan Air since 2011 after it accused the transport company of financing and supporting Iran’s Revolutionary Guards (IRGC). The IRGC was branded as a terrorist group by the White House in early 2019. This latest move by some of the most influential European countries is another step in the increasingly tight sanctions that are currently facing Iran. Although Mahan Air officials have yet to comment on the latest ban, the secretary of the AIA blamed the US for putting pressure on Europe to prevent flights to and from Rome and Milan. This latest move comes immediately after the US issued a new range of sanctions, clearly targeted at limiting access to the material needed for the construction of nuclear weapons.
Iranian Space Race
As Iran continues to rely on ever-growing foreign imports, the current sanctions implemented by the US look set to cause more economic strife for Iranian civilians. With this latest ban on Mahan Air, the international community is clearly sending a message to the Tehran regime and the IRGC. With fears of nuclear development in an increasingly hostile region of the Middle East, the continuous sanctions imposed against Iran look set to cripple the region even more. This latest blow comes recently after the Iranian announcement that it plans to launch three satellites this year, with concerns that the technology used in those launches could be utilized for the development of ballistic missiles. However, the attempted launches in January failed to work. Iran officials have denied that the satellite launches are intended as research into nuclear missile development, claiming that the satellites are to be used for nothing more than geographical evaluations following the recent spate of floods that have affected the country.
With Italy only the latest in a growing number of countries that are imposing serious restrictions on Iran, the country looks set to become increasingly isolated on the world stage.