Germany bans Iranian airline over military, terrorist links

The government suspects the airline, which has been on a US sanctions list since 2011, is used for military purposes by the IRGC. (AP)
Updated 22 January 2019
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Germany bans Iranian airline over military, terrorist links

  • Several EU countries accuse Iran of carrying out spying operations or planning attacks on the continent
  • US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo welcomed the German ban

JEDDAH: An Iranian airline was banned on Monday from operating in Germany because it is being used for military and terrorist purposes by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards.

German authorities revoked Mahan Air’s license on the grounds that it has been transporting military equipment and personnel to Syria and other Middle East war zones.

“It cannot be ruled out that this airline carries out transports to Germany that affect our security concerns,” a government spokesman in Berlin said.

Mahan Air was established in 1992 as Iran’s first private airline. It has the country’s largest fleet of aircraft and has flights to a number of European countries, including France, Italy, Spain and Greece. It operated six flights a week between Tehran and the German cities of Dusseldorf and Munich.

The US imposed sanctions on the airline in 2011 because it provided financial and other support to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, and has been pressing its European allies to follow suit.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo welcomed the German ban. 

“The airline transports weapons and fighters across the Middle East, supporting the Iranian regime’s destructive ambitions around the region,” he said. “We encourage all our allies to follow suit.”


Egypt inks deal with Cyprus for power link to Europe

Updated 21 min 14 sec ago
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Egypt inks deal with Cyprus for power link to Europe

  • It is estimated the project will take 36 months to implement from the start of construction, with the lowest point 3,000 meters below sea-level
  • Phase 1 will see the interconnector carry a capacity of 1,000 MW which can be upgraded to 2,000 MW at a later stage

NICOSIA: Egypt has signed a deal with a Cypriot firm to lay a 310-kilometer (195-mile) cable under the Mediterranean to export electricity to Europe, the company said on Thursday.
Nicosia-based EuroAfrica described the deal, worth an estimated two billion euros, as a “landmark.”
“Cyprus now becomes a major hub for the transmission of electricity from Africa to Europe,” said company chairman Ioannis Kasoulides.
It is estimated the project will take 36 months to implement from the start of construction, with the lowest point 3,000 meters below sea-level.
Phase 1 will see the interconnector carry a capacity of 1,000 MW which can be upgraded to 2,000 MW at a later stage.
“The national electricity grid of Egypt will be linked to the European electricity system through Cyprus and will contribute to energy security,” Kasoulides said.
Following the crises in Crimea and eastern Ukraine, the EU has been keen to develop alternative sources of energy to reduce its dependence on imports from Russia.
In the past year, gas has started flowing from four major new fields off Egypt’s Mediterranean coast, and output is already sufficient to meet domestic needs.
The Arab world’s most populous country is now seeking to develop the infrastructure to export its newfound energy wealth, both as liquefied natural gas and as electricity.
Egypt is also seeking to import gas from fields off Cyprus and Israel to boost the profitability of the new liquefaction and export facilities it is developing on its Mediterranean coast.
In September, Egypt signed a deal with Cyprus to build an undersea pipeline to pump Cypriot offshore gas to Egypt for processing for export to Europe.
The plans have led to closer eastern Mediterranean ties, with Cyprus, Egypt, Greece and Israel holding regular high-level meetings.