A Message to the Italian authorities: is it fine to allow Iran Air flights?

Despite the tragedy of people infected by COVID-19 in Iran, the country has not ceased its air routes with China, and Italy has no closed its links with the air company Iran Air; the latter is not only subjected to U.S. sanctions, but it also risks now to cause a health problem. The comment of Ambassador Giulio Terzi of Sant’Agata, a former Foreign Minister and President of the Global Committee for the Rule of Law “Marco Pannella”, for Formiche.net

The enthusiastic acceptance of the Italian government to the “Silk Road”, the signature of the Memorandum of Understanding between Italy and China with semi-closed eyes – promoted by the former undersecretary Michele Geraci during the visit of President Xi Jinping in Italy – and the close “collaboration” of the Italian media with Chinese media ‘reinforced’ the relation between the two states, even more now with the “new narrative” of Beijing about Coronavirus. They are competing to “disseminate” the propaganda of the Communist Party of China in our country, without giving minimal space for critical thought or factual verification of messages conveyed by Beijing and slavishly taken up in Italy.

“Spread” is a verb causing alarm when referred to China. However, it creates alarm even when it is related to the news from Iran where Covid19 – which was imported also there from Beijing and denied for several months according to Chinese sensibilities – is causing an impressive number of deaths among Iranians. There are reports of thousands of victims, including 20 senior members of the regime. In Iran and China, the denial, censorship and repression of the Ayatollahs have been decisive factors towards the evolution of an epidemic into a global pandemic, which was rather localized initially.

The incredible news, taking also into account the effects that this can reflect on Italy, concerns the air links between China and Qom; although it is now well-established that the virus has spread from that city, flights have not been suspended! Hundreds of students and trainers operate in Qom. They participate in programs of cultural collaboration. In recent days, the CNN broadcasted gruesome images of open mass graves in the vicinity of the city, demonstrating the seriousness of the disaster. Italy cannot underestimate that. Instead of keeping away from an increasing risk of contagion from Iran, as well as from China, the Italian authorities authorise the stopover of flights of the Iran Air from Tehran in our airports.

In addition, Iran Air, under the Executive Order 13599, is subject to sanctions from the US Treasury Department because of its involvement in financial and logistical activities supporting international terrorism. Several proxies of the Iranian regime in the Middle East and Latin America use this air company as a regular carrier for their militias, armaments, and illicit trades. The application of the US sanctions on Iran Air should actually worry companies and executives who provide services at airports, because the legislation in question also relates to them. Substantially, this case is identical to that of another Iranian company, namely Mahan Air, which was suspended by the Italian Civil Aviation Authority (ENAC) last October.

Giulio Terzi di Sant’Agata

Translation: Federica Donati

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