Foreign Policy Research Institute A Nation Must Think Before it Acts On Iran: It’s Not about the Bomb, It’s about the Strategy

On Iran: It’s Not about the Bomb, It’s about the Strategy

This weekend’s Sunday-morning talk shows remained focused on Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to Congress and its possible effect on the ongoing talks with Iran on its nuclear program.

In the meantime, a seemingly innocuous but related event Sunday morning was lightly reported: Yesterday morning, Mahan Air of Iran landed its first commercial flight to Yemen in decades. Even though there is no passenger traffic of almost any sort between Yemen and Iran, Yemen’s new Shiite government and Teheran have scheduled 14 direct flights per week between the two countries.

This first flight was delivering “medical aid.” Ah, of course. Mahan Air, a “private” airline, was called out in 2011 by the U.S. Department of Treasury “for providing financial, material, and technological support to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force (IRGC-QF).” Treasury designated the airline a material and transportation supporter of terrorism, saying: “Based in Tehran, Mahan Air provides transportation, funds transfers and personnel travel services to the IRGC-QF.” In Treasury’s 2011 press release on this matter, Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David S. Cohen said:

Mahan Air’s close coordination with the IRGC-QF — secretly ferrying operatives, weapons, and funds on its flights — reveals yet another facet of the IRGC’s extensive infiltration of Iran’s commercial sector to facilitate its support for terrorism. Following the revelation about the IRGC-QF’s use of the international financial system to fund its murder-for-hire plot, today’s action highlights further the undeniable risks of doing business with Iran.

The general pattern, evident over years, shows that Iran has a well-oiled machine for…

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