Iranian airline ‘loses Spanish licence’

Spanish newspaper reports Mahan Air’s last flight was on March 23

Mike Pompeo, U.S. secretary of state, attends a Coronavirus Task Force news conference at the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, April 8, 2020. President Donald Trump’s top health advisers are developing medical criteria for safely reopening the U.S. economy in coming weeks should trends showing a crest in the coronavirus outbreak hold steady. Photographer: Chris Kleponis/Polaris/Bloomberg

Spain has cancelled flight operations of Iranian carrier Mahan Air, the latest European country to cut off its routes, a Spanish newspaper reported.

The last flight to El Prat in Barcelona from Tehran landed on March 23 after a state of emergency was announced in Spain over the coronavirus outbreak, La Vanguardia reported.

Unidentified officials told the newspaper said the withdrawal of its operating licence was owing to political issues and not Covid-19. The airline only flew to Barcelona in Spain.

Spain’s reported decision follows that of Germany, France and Italy following diplomatic pressure from the United States.

The US says Mahan Air has clear links to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and its shadowy international wing the Quds Force. Germany banned Mahan in 2019 because of its involvement in sending troops to Middle East conflict zones including Syria.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo described Mahan last month as “Iran’s chief terror airline” and accused the airline of spreading the virus through its continued flights to China.

The Spanish civil aviation authority did not respond to requests to comment. Mahan Air could not immediately be reached for comment.

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