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Trump administration designates Chinese company for working with Iranian airline (www.upi.com)

May 19 (UPI) — The Trump administration has announced sanctions against a Chinese company for working with an Iranian airline that has been designated by U.S. authorities for supporting terrorism.

The U.S. Treasury said Tuesday it was designating China-based Shanghai Saint Logistics Limited for acting as a general sales agent for Mahan Air, which the United States sanctioned in 2011 for providing material support to Iran’s elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Crops and again in 2019 for shipping U.N.-restricted missile and nuclear items to Iran.

This is the seventh time the United States has designated a company for working as a GSA for Mahan Air since 2018, the Treasury said in a release.

“The People’s Republic of China is one of the rapidly dwindling number of countries that welcomes Mahan Air, which ferries weapons and terrorists around the world for the Islamic Republic of Iran,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement. “Such cooperation has consequences.”

The United States has accused the airline of transporting terrorists and weapons throughout the Middle East, including to Syria in support of the Bashar al-Assad regime.

More recently, the Trump administration has said Mahan Air has been supporting embattled Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro through operating chartered flights to the South American nation carrying Iranian technicians and technical equipment to help prop up its energy production in exchange for gold.

“The Iranian regime is using Mahan Air to support an illegitimate and corrupt regime in Venezuela, just as it has done for the regime in Syria and for terrorist proxy groups throughout the Middle East,” Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin said in a statement. “We will not hesitate to target those entities that continue to maintain commercial relationships with Mahan Air.”

The Treasury Department explained that Shanghai Saint Logistics was being designated for providing GSA services to Mahan Air such as booking freight flights between China and Iran.

The federal agency said the designation should also be a warning to the international aviation community “of the sanctions risk for individuals and entities that choose to maintain commercial relationships with Mahan Air.”

The Trump administration has repeatedly imposed sanctions against Iran as part of its “maximum pressure campaign” to force Tehran back to the negotiating table after President Donald Trump in May 2018 pulled out of a multi-nation nuclear accord aimed at preventing it from developing a nuclear weapon.

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