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Iran Threatens Legal Action if U.S. Enforces Sanctions Against Terror-Linked Airline

Iran will “take legal action” against the United States if the U.S. prevents an Iranian airline with ties to terrorist groups from flying recently purchased planes, Reuters reported today.

Iran’s Mahan Air, blacklisted by Washington, bought eight second-hand Airbus A340s and one Airbus A321 in May in defiance of U.S. sanctions. Iran’s semi-official Fars news agency reported last week that the planes would be used on international routes.

The U.S. Treasury department said last month that Mahan Air had a “blockable interest” in the planes, meaning they could be subject to an asset freeze, raising the possibility that Washington may attempt to have them seized at airports outside Iran.

“As long as … a disruption has not taken place, we cannot make a definite assertion. But if it happens, Iran will take legal action,” said Alireza Jahangirian, head of Iran’s Civil Aviation Organization, according to the Iranian Students’ News Agency (ISNA).

Last month, Mahan Air, which has ties to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, purchased nine planes, using a complex scheme to hide the purchases. It was later reported that the United States had been informed of the purchases in advance, but did nothing to prevent them. It was reported on Tuesday that a UN panel found that Western nations were refusing to take action against Iran despite its ongoing violations of sanctions.

[Photo: Maarten Visser / Flickr ]