United States says firms helped Iranian airline skirt sanctions

WASHINGTON - Nineteen people and companies in Europe and Asia acted as middlemen for Iranian airline Mahan Air, helping it procure supplies from the United States in violation of US sanctions, the US Commerce Department said on Wednesday.
The regulatory notice from the department posted online provided further insight into the operations of Mahan Air, a commercial airline that the United States has accused of providing funds and transport for Iran's elite forces and flying weapons to Syria.
The notice charged that the middlemen "engaged in the development and operation of an illicit aviation procurement network designed to evade the US government's sanctions against Iran."
A majority of the companies and people are based in Turkey, and others are in Armenia, Greece, Iran, Thailand and the United Arab Emirates. They included Greece's Aeolian Airlines and Armenia's Vertir Airlines, both small charter firms.
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