Diplomacy

Report: U.S. Was Informed of Sanctions-Busting Iran Airplane Deal But Did Not Stop It

Israel informed American authorities of an Iranian airline’s efforts to buy Airbus jets, in violation of American sanctions, but the U.S. didn’t prevent the purchase, Reuters reported today.

“Israel learned from intelligence sources about this very significant breach of the sanctions in advance of it occurring,” the Israeli official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Reuters.

“We flagged the issue to the U.S. administration,” the official said. “Unfortunately, the deal still went through and there was no success in preventing it.”…

[An Israeli] official said the aircraft were sold to an airline that had been blacklisted by the United States “because of its involvement with the Iranian Revolutionary Guards” and Lebanon’s Hezbollah guerrillas.

A State Department official asserted to Reuters that “if there is sanctionable activity, we will take action.” As part of the nuclear negotiations, the United States has allowed the sale of spare parts to Iran, but not the sale of aircraft.

Last week the Financial Times reported that Mahan Air, the sanctioned Iranian airline company, had purchased the aircraft through an Iraqi airline, which, in turn transferred the planes to Mahan.

[Photo: ERIC SALARD / Flickr ]