Congressman Sherman Leads Effort to Designate Iranian Airline a Terrorist Entity in the EU
Washington DC – Congressman Brad Sherman (D-CA) and Congressman Patrick McHenry (R-NC) lead a bipartisan letter to European Union Ambassador H.E. David O’Sullivan, urging the European Union to designate a Mahan Air as a terrorist entity. Mahan Air, an Iranian airline which has already been designated a terrorist entity by the United States, provides material support to terrorist organizations and lethal aid to Assad’s regime in Syria. A designation by the European Union would prevent Mahan Air from flying to and from Europe.
“Preventing Mahan Air from flying to Europe would send a clear message to Iran that the EU is committed to countering Iran’s support for terrorism and those that have caused such grave suffering in Syria,” reads a portion of the letter. “We urge you to work with European governments to promptly end Mahan Air’s operations in Europe, and to signal to European businesses that the EU will remain vigilant in acting against Iranian companies supporting terrorism and Assad’s regime.”
Several key members of Congress signed the letter, including the Chairmen and Ranking Members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, the Subcommittee on the Middle East, and the Subcommittee on Terrorism and Nonproliferation, as well as the Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Europe. The Chairmen of the Terrorism Financing Task Force and the House Homeland Security Committee also signed the letter.
Read the full text of letter below, and attached:
May 23, 2016
H.E. David O’Sullivan
Ambassador of the European Union
to the United States of America
2175 K Street, NW
Washington, DC 20037
Dear Ambassador O’Sullivan:
We are writing to urge the European Union to designate Mahan Air as an entity providing material support to terrorist organizations and lethal aid to Assad’s regime in Syria, and to take action to prevent it from flying to Europe. As European countries increase business ties with Iran, it is vitally important that the EU take a clear stand against any Iranian entity providing support for Iran’s continuing nefarious activities.
Mahan Air was designated by the U.S. Treasury Department for providing material support to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force (IRGC-QF) in 2011. It has also been carrying weapons and personnel to support Hezbollah and the Assad regime in Syria. The Wall Street Journal recently reported that Mahan Air often flies its planes to European destinations within hours of returning from an arms delivery to Damascus. Saudi Arabia recently announced it will ban Mahan Air from flying to its airports. Mahan Air’s status as a U.S. proscribed terrorist entity was not changed by the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, and for good reason.
Mahan Air currently flies to at least four countries in the EU, and it has announced plans to expand to additional countries within the EU this year. By designating and barring this airline, the EU will strike a serious blow against the Assad regime and help prevent continued suffering in Syria by weakening one of Assad’s vital links to his allies. By providing arms to the Assad regime and Hezbollah, Mahan Air is directly contributing to the dire humanitarian situation faced by the Syrian people, and the proliferation of terrorism across the Middle East.
We greatly value our partnership with the European Union, the vital role that US-EU cooperation plays in countering terrorist financing, and our joint efforts to end the suffering in Syria. Preventing Mahan Air from flying to Europe would send a clear message to Iran that the EU is committed to countering Iran’s support for terrorism and those that have caused such grave suffering in Syria. We urge you to work with European governments to promptly end Mahan Air’s operations in Europe, and to signal to European businesses that the EU will remain vigilant in acting against Iranian companies supporting terrorism and Assad’s regime.
- Congressman Patrick T. McHenry
- Congressman Brad Sherman
- Congressman Edward R. Royce
- Congressman Eliot L. Engel
- Congressman Robert Pittenger
- Congressman Theodore E. Deutch
- Congressman Michael G. Fitzpatrick
- Congresswoman Lois Frankel
- Congressman Ted Poe
- Congressman Albio Sires
- Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen
- Congressman William R. Keating
- Congressman Peter T. King
- Congressman David N. Cicilline
- Congressman Randy K. Weber, Sr.
- Congresswoman Grace Meng
- Congressman Paul Cook
- Congressman Brendan F. Boyle
- Congressman French Hill
- Congressman Ron DeSantis
- Congressman Alan S. Lowenthal
- Congresswoman Ann Wagner
- Congressman Gregory W. Meeks
- Congressman Michael T. McCaul
- Congressman Ted S. Yoho
- Congressman Lee M. Zeldin
- Congressman David Schweiker
- Congressman Tom Marino