The United States has imposed sanctions on a Chinese logistics company, which, it alleged, had acted as a general sales agent (GSA) for blacklisted Iranian carrier Mahan Air (W5, Tehran Mehrabad).

The US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) said in a statement on May 19 that Shanghai Saint Logistics provided services such as cargo bookings for Mahan Air flights between China and Iran.

Mahan Air has also been carrying, the statement alleged, Iranian scientists and technology using materials sourced from China on charter flights to Venezuela to aid the government of President Nicolás Maduro in its efforts to revive energy production.

The US blacklisted Mahan Air in October 2011, and the sanctions on Shanghai Saint Logistics - which block any assets it has within US jurisdictions and bans US-based entities from transacting with them - are part of Washington’s ongoing efforts to shut the airline down.

Shanghai Saint Logistics, it said, is Mahan’s cargo GSA in Shanghai providing services such as sales, financial, administrative, and marketing support and freight reception and handling.

“The Iranian regime is using Mahan Air to support an illegitimate and corrupt regime in Venezuela, just as it has done for the regime in Syria and for terrorist proxy groups throughout the Middle East,” said Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. “We will not hesitate to target those entities that continue to maintain commercial relationships with Mahan Air.”

“This is the seventh designation of a GSA to Mahan Air since 2018. Mahan Air is designated under counterterrorism authorities for providing support to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force,” the statement claimed, adding that the government of Venezuela was reportedly paying for the charter flights “with gold bars directly from the Central Bank of Venezuela - gold that belongs to the Venezuelan people.”