Iran’s flag carrier airline will resume flights to Italy’s capital, Rome, from Dec. 2 upon the requests of Iranians living in Rome, announced Iran Air’s Director-General for Public Relations Massoumeh Asgharzadeh.
Speaking to IRNA, the official said flights from Tehran to Rome and back will be operated on Mondays and Thursdays every week. Iran Air, also known as Homa, currently operates weekly flights to Milan on Tuesdays and Fridays.
The announcement came after Italy said it was set to ban flights by Iran’s Mahan Air, an Iranian industry official said on Saturday, as the United States seeks action against the airline accused by the West of transporting military equipment and personnel to Middle East war zones, an allegation the Iranian airline denies.
Germany and France have both already banned flights by the airline, and Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio told US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in early October that Rome was set to decide on whether to follow suit. Italy’s air authority ENAC said in a statement that the ban on Mahan’s flights to Rome and Milan would take effect in mid-December.
The Association of Iranian Airlines confirmed the news of the ban, Reuters reported. “Along with their pressure on our country, the Americans have pressed Italy to stop Mahan Air flights to Rome and Milan,” Maqsoud Asadi-Samani, secretary of AIA, was quoted as saying by Mehr News Agency.
Germany revoked the airline’s license in January in the wake of US pressure, while France banned it in March, accusing it of transporting military equipment and personnel to Syria and other Middle East war zones.
The United States imposed sanctions on Mahan in 2011, saying it provided financial and other support to Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps. The Tehran-based carrier, established in 1992 as Iran’s first private airline, has the country’s largest fleet of aircraft and routes to several European and Asian countries.