BIS Adds Al Naser Airlines to Mahan Air Temporary Denial Order

May 21, 2015

Weapon Program: 

  • Military

Mentioned Suspect Entities & Suppliers: 

Related Country: 

  • Iraq

WASHINGTON– The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) today issued an order denying the export privileges of Al Naser Airlines, Bahar Safwa General Trading, and Ali Abdullah Alhay for ongoing efforts to illegally export civilian aircraft to Iran in violation of the Export Administration Regulations (EAR).

Also today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury designated Iraq-based Al-Naser Airlines, Syrian businessman Issam Shammout, and his UAE-based Sky Blue Bird Aviation pursuant to Executive Order 13224, a counter-terrorism authority. These entities and this individual were sanctioned for providing support to Iran's Mahan Air, which was designated in October 2011 pursuant to E.O. 13224 for providing financial, material and technological support to Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force (IRGC-QF).

The BIS order adds the parties to an existing Temporary Denial Order (TDO) against Mahan Air of Iran. TDOs are issued by the Assistant Secretary for Export Enforcement denying the export privileges of a company or individual to prevent an imminent or on-going export control violation. These orders are issued for a renewable 180-day period and cut off not only the right to export from the United States, but also the right to receive or participate in exports and reexports from the United States or in other transactions that are subject to the EAR..

According to the TDO, Al Naser Airlines, based in Iraq, sought to acquire, for Mahan Air, at least two Airbus aircraft that were located in the United States. Ali Abdullah Alhay, a twenty-five percent owner of Al Naser Airlines who was acting on its behalf, signed a Letter of Intent for the aircraft as well as subsequent Sales Agreements. Payments were wired from the account of Bahar Safwa General Trading of Dubai, United Arab Emirates, an entity suspected of acting as a front company for Mahan.

Agents from the BIS Office of Export Enforcement detained the two aircraft prior to their export from the United States. Recent press reports indicate that Al Naser Airlines continues its efforts to procure commercial aircraft for Mahan Air.

Mahan Air has been subject to a Temporary Denial Order since 2008 that has been successively renewed, most recently in January 2015 for its on-going procurement efforts and attempts to evade U.S. export law. Additionally, in October 2011, the U.S. Department of the Treasury named Mahan Air as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist for providing financial, material and technological support to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force.

BIS controls exports and re-exports of commodities, technology, and software to support national security and foreign policy, including nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, and missile non-proliferation, human rights, regional stability, and curbing terrorism. Criminal penalties and administrative sanctions can be imposed for violations of the Export Administration Regulations.