Radiofarda – Despite a dangerous spread of corovirus in Iran, there is evidence that at least one Iranian airline is still continuing flights to China.
A flight tracking website, Flightradar24 shows Mahan airlines, with links to the Islamic Revolution Guard Corps (IRGC) and sanctioned by U.S., flew from Beijing to Tehran (Flight W578) three days ago and landed at 4:40 in the morning in the Imam Khomeini Airport in Tehran.
Iran announced its first cases of coronavirus infections and deaths on February 19 and since then the number of fatalities has increased to 8, with at least dozens diagnosed with the disease.
Iran’s Vice President Es’haq Jahangiri and several minister had decided January 31 to stop all flights to and from China, but since then other officials have admitted Mahan continues its flights, claiming not for carrying passengers. But reports later indicated the company is flying Chinese citizens, who have few options of air travel since the outbreak of the virus, to Turkey and back.
Mahan airline was designated by the U.S. Treasury in 2011 for supporting the Revolutionary Guard’s Qods Force. On December 11, 2019 the Treasury Department designated three of Mahan Air’s general sales agents based in the United Arab Emirates and Hong Kong for “facilitating the Iranian regime’s support to proxy militias”.