Diplomacy

U.S. Ambassador: Germany Must Deny Access to Iranian Airline Used by Revolutionary Guards

The new U.S. ambassador to Germany, Richard Grenell, said Germany must close its airspace and deny landing rights to Iran’s Mahan Air because of the airline’s material support for terrorism, Ben Weinthal reported in The Jerusalem Post Wednesday.

In a meeting last week with a senior delegation from the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), Grenell stated: “Here in Germany, I have asked the German government to support our efforts to stop an airline called Mahan Air from utilizing German airspace and airports.”

The ambassador explained that “We know that Mahan Air has been used by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps [IRGC] as a mode of transport for weapons, resources and fighters, so we’re asking our allies to help us put a stop to it.”

The IRGC was designated by the U.S. as a terrorist organization in October, and last week the Canadian House of Commons called for similar action to be taken in Canada. Meanwhile, the government of German Chancellor Angela Merkel has so far refused to take action against the IRGC.

Grenell said that the U.S. was “focused on the mounting menace posed by Iran. It has been laid bare for all to see. The Iranian drone that breached Israel’s borders in February was a brazen act of aggression.” He added: “And as we all know, the regime in Iran continues to develop advanced ballistic missiles that can threaten Israeli soil and the lives of all her citizens.”

The ambassador insisted that the “fatal flaws” of the JCPOA, as the nuclear deal is known, “put the world at risk,” and the U.S. was now “pursuing the president’s Iran strategy by working with allies to counter the regime’s destabilizing activities in the region, block the financing of terror, and address Iran’s proliferation of weapons systems that threaten peace and stability.”

Grenell further reflected on the strong partnership between Israel and the U.S., as well as the decision to move the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. “The alliance between America and Israel has never been stronger,” he told the delegation.

“Seventy years ago the United States became the first nation to recognize the State of Israel. Ever since, Jerusalem has been the seat of the modern Israeli government, including the parliament, the Supreme Court, the president, and the prime minister. The bipartisan 1995 Jerusalem Embassy Act urging the move of the embassy to Jerusalem was reaffirmed by the US Senate unanimously in 2017,” the ambassador observed.

By relocating the embassy to Jerusalem, Grenell concluded, the U.S. “was recognizing the reality on the ground.” He insisted that the “long-overdue step of moving our embassy is not a departure from our strong commitment to facilitate a lasting peace deal. Rather, it is a necessary condition for it. Old challenges demand new approaches, and new ideas with new courage.”

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