After ongoing pressure from the United States government, Germany has taken action and banned an Iranian airline from its airspace; the German government, though, denies that the ban has anything to do with the pressure from the U.S. government and instead everything to do with its own security measures.
Earlier this week, the German government banned Iranian airline Mahan Air from flying in the country’s airspace. The move followed heavy pressure from the United States government on Germany to revoke the airline’s license. According to both Germany and the US, the ban is in place because the airline “has been transporting military equipment and personnel to Syria and other Middle East war zones,” Reuters reported.
US sanctions on Mahan Air have been in place since 2011, and the government has pushed Germany to do the same since then. The German government, though, says the US had nothing to do with its decision.
“The German decision is based on considerations of our security needs,” German government spokesman Steffen Seibert said in a news conference reported by Reuters. “It cannot be ruled out that this airline could also transport cargo to Germany that threatens our security. This is based on knowledge of past terrorist activities by Iran in Europe.”
Richard Grenell, the US ambassador in Berlin, was quick to show his support for Germany’s decision.
“Mahan Air has flown terrorists, weapons, equipment, and funds to international locations to support Iranian terrorist proxy groups,” Grenell said in a statement reported by Reuters. “Iran’s use of Mahan Air to support the Assad regime in Syria, for example, has contributed to incredible human suffering, violence, and political instability felt across the world.”