Germany bans Iranian airline over spying and terrorism
The German government has revoked Iranian airline Mahan’s right to operate in Germany over Iran’s illegal activities in Europe, including the discovery of a spy working as a translator for the country’s armed forces.
The government suspects the airline, which has been on a United States sanctions list since 2011, is used for military purposes by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards as well as for terrorist activities.
US authorities have accused Mahan Air of maintaining close ties to the elite Quds Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps. In 2011, the US Treasury designated Mahan Air a material supporter of terrorism for supporting the group.
Germany’s Federal Aviation Office withdrew Mahan Air’s operating permit in Germany with immediate effect.
A spokesperson for the Transport Ministry said the airline had been informed it had to suspend all connections in and out of Germany.
Mahan Air cargo flights to Syria and other war zones made the move vital to “protect Germany’s foreign and security policy interests,” a Foreign Ministry spokesperson added.
German authorities on Tuesday detained a 50-year old Afghan-German dual national who worked as a translator for the German military, for passing data to an Iranian intelligence agency, the federal prosecutor’s office said in a statement.
The spy, identified only as Abdul Hamid S., in line with local privacy laws, will go before a judge later Tuesday, the statement said.
Earlier this month, EU ministers added two Iranian terrorists and an Iranian intelligence unit to the bloc’s terrorist list and froze their assets.
Several European Union countries accuse Iran of carrying out spying operations or planning terror attacks on the continent. The Netherlands accused Iran of two killings on its soil and joined France and Denmark in alleging Tehran plotted other attacks in Europe.