US bans Iranian cargo airline

THE US government has slapped sanctions on an Iranian cargo airline, three Iranian military officials and a Nigerian shipping agent over their alleged involvement in arms exports.

Yas Air, three Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Quds Force officials and Behineh Trading were allegedly involved in shipping arms to Syria and Africa, under the pretence of humanitarian aid.

According to the department, the officials authorised the airline to transport weapons, which it claims were listed as ‘auto spare parts’ and were destined for Syria, in March last year.

The treasury also says assault rifles, machine guns, ammunition and mortar shells were uncovered during an inspection.

David Cohen, the treasury’s under-secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, states: “As the Iranian regime exports its lethal aid and expertise to foment violence in Syria and Africa, [the] treasury will continue to expose the officials and companies involved and work to hold them accountable for the suffering they cause.”

Behineh Trading and the Nigerian agent were allegedly involved in the movement of a shipment of weapons concealed among construction materials, which was seized in Nigeria in October 2010, and was intended for Gambia, the treasury adds.

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