An Iranian delegation landed in Venezuela on Monday to discuss launching direct flights between the two countries, Venezuelas foreign minister said, as Tehran voices support for President Nicolas Maduro against the opposition backed by most Western countries.
A plane belonging to Mahan Air, a private Iranian airline accused of transporting military equipment to Middle East war zones, landed in Caracas on Monday, and the two countries will discuss launching a direct flight “in the coming months,” Minister Jorge Arreaza told reporters.
A White House official said the US government viewed the launch of direct flights as a “politically motivated gesture.”
“From our standpoint, theres clearly no commercial reason to establish this flight at this time,” the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Irans Mehr news agency quoted the spokesman of Irans Civil Aviation Organization Reza Jafarzadeh as saying a delegation from Mahan Air was travelling to Caracas to discuss maintaining regular flights between the two countries. The nonstop Tehran-Caracas flight would take 16 hours.
A Reuters photographer saw a Mahan Air plane parked at Caracas main Maiquetia airport on Monday morning.
Mahan Air, established in 1992 as Irans first private airline, has the countrys largest fleet of aircraft. The United States imposed sanctions on the company in 2011, saying it provided financial and other support to Irans Islamic Revolutionary Guards (IRGC).
France and Germany banned the airlines flights earlier this year, accusing it of transporting military equipment and personnel to Syria and other regional war zones.
Iran has voiced support for Maduro, who faces demands from the opposition and the United States to step down. Russia, China and TurRead More – Source