Mahan Airways, Mahan Tower, No. 21, Azadegan St., M.A. Jenah Exp. Way, Tehran, Iran;
Pejman Mahmood Kosarayanifard, a/k/a Kosarian Fard, P.O. Box 52404, Dubai, United Arab Emirates;
Mahmoud Amini, G#22 Dubai Airport Free Zone, P.O. Box 393754, Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and P.O. Box 52404, Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and Mohamed Abdulla Alqaz Building, Al Maktoum Street, Al Rigga, Dubai, United Arab Emirates;
Kerman Aviation, a/k/a GIE Kerman Aviation, 42 Avenue Montaigne 75008, Paris, France;
Sirjanco Trading LLC, P.O. Box 8709, Dubai, United Arab Emirates;
Mahan Air General Trading LLC, 19th Floor Al Moosa Tower One, Sheik Zayed Road, Dubai 40594, United Arab Emirates;
Mehdi Bahrami, Mahan Airways—Istanbul Office, Cumhuriye Cad. Sibil Apt No: 101 D:6, 34374 Emadad, Sisli Istanbul, Turkey;
Al Naser Airlines, a/k/a al-Naser Airlines, a/k/a Al Naser Wings Airline, a/k/a Alnaser Airlines and Air Freight Ltd., Home 46, Al-Karrada, Babil Region, District 929, St 21) Beside Al Jadirya Private Hospital, Baghdad, Iraq, and Al Amirat Street, Section 309, St. 3/H.20) Al Mansour) Baghdad, Iraq, and P.O. Box 28360, Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and P.O. Box 911399, Amman 11191, Jordan;
Ali Abdullah Alhay, a/k/a Ali Alhay, a/k/a Ali Abdullah Ahmed Alhay, Home 46, Al-Karrada, Babil Region, District 929, St 21, Beside Al Jadirya Private Hospital, Baghdad, Iraq, and Anak Street, Qatif, Saudi Arabia 61177;
Bahar Safwa General Trading, PO Box 113212) Citadel Tower, Floor-5, Office #504, Business Bay, Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and PO Box 8709, Citadel Tower, Business Bay, Dubai, United Arab Emirates;
Sky Blue Bird Group, a/k/a Sky Blue Bird Aviation, a/k/a Sky Blue Bird Ltd, a/k/a Sky Blue Bird FZC, P.O. Box 16111, Ras Al Khaimah Trade Zone, United Arab Emirates;
Issam Shammout, a/k/a Muhammad Isam Muhammad) Anwar Nur Shammout, a/k/a Start Printed Page 34406Issam Anwar, Philips Building, 4th Floor, Al Fardous Street, Damascus, Syria, and Al Kolaa, Beirut, Lebanon 151515, and 17-18 Margaret Street, 4th Floor, London, W1W 8RP, United Kingdom, and Cumhuriyet Mah. Kavakli San St. Fulya, Cad. Hazar Sok. No.14/A Silivri, Istanbul, Turkey.
Pursuant to § 766.24 of the Export Administration Regulations, 15 CFR parts 730-774 (2020) (“EAR” or “the Regulations”), I hereby grant the request of the Office of Export Enforcement (“OEE”) to renew the temporary denial order issued in this matter on December 2, 2019. I find that renewal of this order, as modified, is necessary in the public interest to prevent an imminent violation of the Regulations.
I. Procedural History
On March 17, 2008, Darryl W. Jackson, the then-Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Export Enforcement (“Assistant Secretary”), signed an order denying Mahan Airways' export privileges for a period of 180 days on the ground that issuance of the order was necessary in the public interest to prevent an imminent violation of the Regulations. The order also named as denied persons Blue Airways, of Yerevan, Armenia (“Blue Airways of Armenia”), as well as the “Balli Group Respondents,” namely, Balli Group PLC, Balli Aviation, Balli Holdings, Vahid Alaghband, Hassan Alaghband, Blue Sky One Ltd., Blue Sky Two Ltd., Blue Sky Three Ltd., Blue Sky Four Ltd., Blue Sky Five Ltd., and Blue Sky Six Ltd., all of the United Kingdom. The order was issued ex parte pursuant to § 766.24(a) of the Regulations, and went into effect on March 21, 2008, the date it was published in the Federal Register.
This temporary denial order (“TDO”) was renewed in accordance with § 766.24(d) of the Regulations.
Subsequent renewals also have issued pursuant to § 766.24(d), including most recently on December 2, 2019.
Some of the renewal orders and the modification orders that have issued between renewals have added certain parties as respondents or as related persons, or effected the removal of certain parties.
The September 11, 2009 renewal order continued the denial order as to Mahan Airways, but not as to the Balli Group Respondents or Blue Airways of Armenia.
As part of the February 25, 2011 renewal order, Pejman Mahmood Kosarayanifard (a/k/a Kosarian Fard), Mahmoud Amini, and Gatewick LLC (a/k/a Gatewick Freight and Cargo Services, a/k/a Gatewick Aviation Services) were added as related persons to prevent evasion of the TDO.
A modification order issued on July 1, 2011, adding Zarand Aviation as a respondent in order to prevent an imminent violation.
As part of the August 24, 2011 renewal, Kerman Aviation, Sirjanco Trading LLC, and Ali Eslamian were added as related persons. Mahan Air General Trading LLC, Equipco (UK) Ltd., and Skyco (UK) Ltd. were added as related persons by a modification order issued on April 9, 2012. Mehdi Bahrami was added as a related person as part of the February 4, 2013 renewal order.
On May 21, 2015, a modification order issued adding Al Naser Airlines, Ali Abdullah Alhay, and Bahar Safwa General Trading as respondents. As detailed in that order and discussed further infra, these respondents were added to the TDO based upon evidence that they were acting together to, inter alia, obtain aircraft subject to the Regulations for export or reexport to Mahan in violation of the Regulations and the TDO. Sky Blue Bird Group and its chief executive officer, Issam Shammout, were added as related persons as part of the July 13, 2015 renewal order.
On November 16, 2017, a modification order issued to remove Ali Eslamian, Equipco (UK) Ltd., and Skyco (UK) Ltd. as related persons Start Printed Page 34407following a request by OEE for their removal.
The December 11, 2018 renewal order continued the denial of the export privileges of Mahan Airways, Pejman Mahmood Kosarayanifard, Mahmoud Amini, Kerman Aviation, Sirjanco Trading LLC, Mahan Air General Trading LLC, Mehdi Bahrami, Al Naser Airlines, Ali Abdullah Alhay, Bahar Safwa General Trading, Sky Blue Bird Group, and Issam Shammout.
On May 6, 2020, BIS, through OEE, submitted a written request for renewal of the TDO that issued on December 2, 2019. The written request was made more than 20 days before the TDO's scheduled expiration. Notice of the renewal request was provided to Mahan Airways, Al Naser Airlines, Ali Abdullah Alhay, and Bahar Safwa General Trading in accordance with §§ 766.5 and 766.24(d) of the Regulations. No opposition to the renewal of the TDO has been received. Furthermore, no appeal of the related person determinations made as part of the September 3, 2010, February 25, 2011, August 24, 2011, April 9, 2012, February 4, 2013, and July 13, 2015 renewal or modification orders has been made by Kosarian Fard, Mahmoud Amini, Kerman Aviation, Sirjanco Trading LLC, Mahan Air General Trading LLC, Mehdi Bahrami, Sky Blue Bird Group, or Issam Shammout.
II. Renewal of the TDO
A. Legal Standard
Pursuant to § 766.24, BIS may issue or renew an order temporarily denying a respondent's export privileges upon a showing that the order is necessary in the public interest to prevent an “imminent violation” of the Regulations. 15 CFR 766.24(b)(1) and (d). “A violation may be `imminent' either in time or degree of likelihood.” 15 CFR 766.24(b)(3). BIS may show “either that a violation is about to occur, or that the general circumstances of the matter under investigation or case under criminal or administrative charges demonstrate a likelihood of future violations.” Id. As to the likelihood of future violations, BIS may show that the violation under investigation or charge “is significant, deliberate, covert and/or likely to occur again, rather than technical or negligent [.]” Id. A “lack of information establishing the precise time a violation may occur does not preclude a finding that a violation is imminent, so long as there is sufficient reason to believe the likelihood of a violation.” Id.
B. The TDO and BIS's Request for Renewal
OEE's request for renewal is based upon the facts underlying the issuance of the initial TDO, and the renewal and modification orders subsequently issued in this matter, including the May 21, 2015 modification order and the renewal order issued on December 2, 2019, and the evidence developed over the course of this investigation, which indicate a blatant disregard of U.S. export controls and the TDO. The initial TDO was issued as a result of evidence that showed that Mahan Airways and other parties engaged in conduct prohibited by the EAR by knowingly re-exporting to Iran three U.S.-origin aircraft, specifically Boeing 747s (“Aircraft 1-3”), items subject to the EAR and classified under Export Control Classification Number (“ECCN”) 9A991.b, without the required U.S. Government authorization. Further evidence submitted by BIS indicated that Mahan Airways was involved in the attempted re-export of three additional U.S.-origin Boeing 747s (“Aircraft 4-6”) to Iran.
As discussed in the September 17, 2008 renewal order, evidence presented by BIS indicated that Aircraft 1-3 continued to be flown on Mahan Airways' routes after issuance of the TDO, in violation of the Regulations and the TDO itself.
It also showed that Aircraft 1-3 had been flown in further violation of the Regulations and the TDO on the routes of Iran Air, an Iranian Government airline. Moreover, as discussed in the March 16, 2009, September 11, 2009 and March 9, 2010 renewal orders, Mahan Airways registered Aircraft 1-3 in Iran, obtained Iranian tail numbers for them (EP-MNA, EP-MNB, and EP-MNE, respectively), and continued to operate at least two of them in violation of the Regulations and the TDO,
while also committing an additional knowing and willful violation when it negotiated for and acquired an additional U.S.-origin aircraft. The additional acquired aircraft was an MD-82 aircraft, which subsequently was painted in Mahan Airways' livery and flown on multiple Mahan Airways' routes under tail number TC-TUA.
The March 9, 2010 renewal order also noted that a court in the United Kingdom (“U.K.”) had found Mahan Airways in contempt of court on February 1, 2010, for failing to comply with that court's December 21, 2009 and January 12, 2010 orders compelling Mahan Airways to remove the Boeing 747s from Iran and ground them in the Netherlands. Mahan Airways and the Balli Group Respondents had been litigating before the U.K. court concerning ownership and control of Aircraft 1-3. In a letter to the U.K. court dated January 12, 2010, Mahan Airways' Chairman indicated, inter alia, that Mahan Airways opposes U.S. Government actions against Iran, that it continued to operate the aircraft on its routes in and out of Tehran (and had 158,000 “forward bookings” for these aircraft), and that it wished to continue to do so and would pay damages if required by that court, rather than ground the aircraft.
The September 3, 2010 renewal order discussed the fact that Mahan Airways' violations of the TDO extended beyond operating U.S.-origin aircraft and attempting to acquire additional U.S.-origin aircraft. In February 2009, while subject to the TDO, Mahan Airways participated in the export of computer motherboards, items subject to the Regulations and designated as EAR99, from the United States to Iran, via the United Arab Emirates (“UAE”), in violation of both the TDO and the Regulations, by transporting and/or forwarding the computer motherboards from the UAE to Iran. Mahan Airways' violations were facilitated by Gatewick LLC, which not only participated in the transaction, but also has stated to BIS that it acted as Mahan Airways' sole booking agent for cargo and freight forwarding services in the UAE.
Moreover, in a January 24, 2011 filing in the U.K. court, Mahan Airways asserted that Aircraft 1-3 were not being used, but stated in pertinent part that the aircraft were being maintained in Iran especially “in an airworthy Start Printed Page 34408condition” and that, depending on the outcome of its U.K. court appeal, the aircraft “could immediately go back into service . . . on international routes into and out of Iran.” Mahan Airways' January 24, 2011 submission to U.K. Court of Appeal, at p. 25, ¶¶ 108, 110. This clearly stated intent, both on its own and in conjunction with Mahan Airways' prior misconduct and statements, demonstrated the need to renew the TDO in order to prevent imminent future violations. Two of these three 747s subsequently were removed from Iran and are no longer in Mahan Airways' possession. The third of these 747s remained in Iran under Mahan's control. Pursuant to Executive Order 13224, it was designated a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (“SDGT”) by the U.S. Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) on September 19, 2012.
Furthermore, as discussed in the February 4, 2013 Order, open source information indicated that this 747, painted in the livery and logo of Mahan Airways, had been flown between Iran and Syria, and was suspected of ferrying weapons and/or other equipment to the Syrian Government from Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.
In addition, as first detailed in the July 1, 2011 and August 24, 2011 orders, and discussed in subsequent renewal orders in this matter, Mahan Airways also continued to evade U.S. export control laws by operating two Airbus A310 aircraft, bearing Mahan Airways' livery and logo, on flights into and out of Iran.
At the time of the July 1, 2011 and August 24, 2011 orders, these Airbus A310s were registered in France, with tail numbers F-OJHH and F-OJHI, respectively.
The August 2012 renewal order also found that Mahan Airways had acquired another Airbus A310 aircraft subject to the Regulations, with MSN 499 and Iranian tail number EP-VIP, in violation of the Regulations.
On September 19, 2012, all three Airbus A310 aircraft (tail numbers F-OJHH, F-OJHI, and EP-VIP) were designated as SDGTs.
The February 4, 2013 renewal order laid out further evidence of continued and additional efforts by Mahan Airways and other persons acting in concert with Mahan, including Kral Aviation and another Turkish company, to procure U.S.-origin engines—two GE CF6-50C2 engines, with MSNs 517621 and 517738, respectively—and other aircraft parts in violation of the TDO and the Regulations.
The February 4, 2013 order also added Mehdi Bahrami as a related person in accordance with § 766.23 of the Regulations. Bahrami, a Mahan Vice-President and the head of Mahan's Istanbul Office, also was involved in Mahan's acquisition of the original three Boeing 747s (Aircraft 1-3) that resulted in the original TDO, and has had a business relationship with Mahan dating back to 1997.
The July 31, 2013 renewal order detailed additional evidence obtained by OEE showing efforts by Mahan Airways to obtain another GE CF6-50C2 aircraft engine (MSN 528350) from the United States via Turkey. Multiple Mahan employees, including Mehdi Bahrami, were involved in or aware of matters related to the engine's arrival in Turkey from the United States, plans to visually inspect the engine, and prepare it for shipment from Turkey.
Mahan Airways sought to obtain this U.S.-origin engine through Pioneer Logistics Havacilik Turizm Yonetim Danismanlik (“Pioneer Logistics”), an aircraft parts supplier located in Turkey, and its director/operator, Gulnihal Yegane, a Turkish national who previously had conducted Mahan related business with Mehdi Bahrami and Ali Eslamian. Moreover, as referenced in the July 31, 2013 renewal order, a sworn affidavit by Kosol Surinanda, also known as Kosol Surinandha, Managing Director of Mahan's General Sales Agent in Thailand, stated that the shares of Pioneer Logistics for which he was the listed owner were “actually the property of and owned by Mahan.” He further stated that he held “legal title to the shares until otherwise required by Mahan” but would “exercise the rights granted to [him] exactly and only as instructed by Mahan and [his] vote and/or decisions [would] only and exclusively reflect the wills and demands of Mahan[.]” 
The January 24, 2014 renewal order outlined OEE's continued investigation of Mahan Airways' activities and detailed an attempt by Mahan, which OEE thwarted, to obtain, via an Indonesian aircraft parts supplier, two U.S.-origin Honeywell ALF-502R-5 aircraft engines (MSNs LF5660 and LF5325), items subject to the Regulations, from a U.S. company located in Texas. An invoice of the Indonesian aircraft parts supplier dated March 27, 2013, listed Mahan Airways as the purchaser of the engines and included a Mahan ship-to address. OEE also obtained a Mahan air waybill dated March 12, 2013, listing numerous U.S.-origin aircraft parts subject to the Regulations—including, among other items, a vertical navigation gyroscope, a transmitter, and a power control unit—being transported by Mahan from Turkey to Iran in violation of the TDO.
The July 22, 2014 renewal order discussed open source evidence from the March-June 2014 time period regarding two BAE regional jets, items subject to the Regulations, that were painted in the livery and logo of Mahan Airways and operating under Iranian tail numbers EP-MOI and EP-MOK, respectively.
In addition, aviation Start Printed Page 34409industry resources indicated that these aircraft were obtained by Mahan Airways in late November 2013 and June 2014, from Ukrainian Mediterranean Airline, a Ukrainian airline that was added to BIS's Entity List (Supplement No. 4 to part 744 of the Regulations) on August 15, 2011, for acting contrary to the national security and foreign policy interests of the United States.
Open source information indicated that at least EP-MOI remained active in Mahan's fleet, and that the aircraft was being operated on multiple flights in July 2014.
The January 16, 2015 renewal order detailed evidence of additional attempts by Mahan Airways to acquire items subject the Regulations in further violation of the TDO. Specifically, in March 2014, OEE became aware of an inertial reference unit bearing serial number 1231 (“the IRU”) that had been sent to the United States for repair. The IRU is a U.S.-origin item, subject to the Regulations, classified under ECCN 7A103, and controlled for missile technology reasons. Upon closer inspection, it was determined that IRU came from or had been installed on an Airbus A340 aircraft bearing MSN 056. Further investigation revealed that as of approximately February 2014, this aircraft was registered under Iranian tail number EP-MMB and had been painted in the livery and logo of Mahan Airways.
The January 16, 2015 renewal order also described related efforts by the Departments of Justice and Treasury to further thwart Mahan's illicit procurement efforts. Specifically, on August 14, 2014, the United States Attorney's Office for the District of Maryland filed a civil forfeiture complaint for the IRU pursuant to 22 U.S.C. 401(b) that resulted in the court issuing an Order of Forfeiture on December 2, 2014. EP-MMB remains listed as active in Mahan Airways' fleet and has been used on flights into and out of Iran as recently as December 19, 2017.
Additionally, on August 29, 2014, OFAC blocked the property and interests in property of Asian Aviation Logistics of Thailand, a Mahan Airways affiliate or front company, pursuant to Executive Order 13224. In doing so, OFAC described Mahan Airways' use of Asian Aviation Logistics to evade sanctions by making payments on behalf of Mahan for the purchase of engines and other equipment.
The May 21, 2015 modification order detailed the acquisition of two aircraft, specifically an Airbus A340 bearing MSN 164 and an Airbus A321 bearing MSN 550, that were purchased by Al Naser Airlines in late 2014/early 2015 and were under the possession, control, and/or ownership of Mahan Airways.
The sales agreements for these two aircraft were signed by Ali Abdullah Alhay for Al Naser Airlines.
Payment information reveals that multiple electronic funds transfers (“EFT”) were made by Ali Abdullah Alhay and Bahar Safwa General Trading in order to acquire MSNs 164 and 550. The May 21, 2015 modification order also laid out evidence showing the respondents' attempts to obtain other controlled aircraft, including aircraft physically located in the United States in similarly-patterned transactions during the same recent time period. Transactional documents involving two Airbus A320s bearing MSNs 82 and 99, respectively, again showed Ali Abdullah Alhay signing sales agreements for Al Naser Airlines.
A review of the payment information for these aircraft similarly revealed EFTs from Ali Abdullah Alhay and Bahar Safwa General Trading that follow the pattern described for MSNs 164 and 550, supra. MSNs 82 and 99 were detained by OEE Special Agents prior to their planned export from the United States.
The July 13, 2015 renewal order outlined evidence showing that Al Naser Airlines' attempts to acquire aircraft on behalf of Mahan Airways extended beyond MSNs 164 and 550 to include a total of nine aircraft.
Four of the aircraft, all of which are subject to the Regulations and were obtained by Mahan from Al Naser Airlines, had been issued the following Iranian tail numbers: EP-MMD (MSN 164), EP-MMG (MSN 383), EP-MMH (MSN 391) and EP-MMR (MSN 416), respectively.
Publicly available flight tracking information provided evidence that at the time of the July 13, 2015 renewal, both EP-MMH and EP-MMR were being actively flown on routes into and out of Iran in violation of the Regulations.
The January 7, 2016 renewal order discussed evidence that Mahan Airways had begun actively flying EP-MMD on international routes into and out of Iran. Additionally, the January 7, 2016 order described publicly available aviation database and flight tracking information indicating that Start Printed Page 34410Mahan Airways continued efforts to acquire Iranian tail numbers and press into active service under Mahan's livery and logo at least two more of the Airbus A340 aircraft it had obtained from or through Al Naser Airlines: EP-MME (MSN 371) and EP-MMF (MSN 376), respectively.
The July 7, 2016 renewal order described Mahan Airways' acquisition of a BAE Avro RJ-85 aircraft (MSN 2392) in violation of the Regulations and its subsequent registration under Iranian tail number EP-MOR.
This information was corroborated by publicly available information on the website of Iran's civil aviation authority. The July 7, 2016 order also outlined Mahan's continued operation of EP-MMF in violation of the Regulations on routes from Tehran, Iran to Beijing, China and Shanghai, China, respectively.
The December 30, 2016 renewal order outlined Mahan's continued operation of multiple Airbus aircraft, including EP-MMD (MSN 164), EP-MMF (MSN 376), and EP-MMH (MSN 391), which were acquired from or through Al Naser Airlines, as previously detailed in pertinent part in the July 13, 2015 and January 7, 2016 renewal orders. Publicly available flight tracking information showed that the aircraft were operated on flights into and out of Iran, including from/to Beijing, China, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and Istanbul, Turkey.
The June 27, 2017 renewal order included similar evidence regarding Mahan Airways' operation of multiple Airbus aircraft subject to the Regulations, including, but not limited to, aircraft procured from or through Al Naser Airlines, on flights into and out of Iran, including from/to Moscow, Russia, Shanghai, China and Kabul, Afghanistan. The June 27, 2017 order also detailed evidence concerning a suspected planned or attempted diversion to Mahan of an Airbus A340 subject to the Regulations that had first been mentioned in OEE's December 13, 2016 renewal request.
The December 20, 2017 renewal order presented evidence that a Mahan employee attempted to initiate negotiations with a U.S. company for the purchase of an aircraft subject to the Regulations and classified under ECCN 9A610. Moreover, the order highlighted Al Naser Airlines' acquisition, via lease, of at least possession and/or control of a Boeing 737 (MSN 25361), bearing tail number YR-SEB, and an Airbus A320 (MSN 357), bearing tail number YR-SEA, from a Romanian company in violation of the TDO and the Regulations.
Open source information indicates that after the December 20, 2017 renewal order publicly exposed Al Naser's acquisition of these two aircraft (MSNs 25361 and 357), the leases were subsequently cancelled and the aircraft returned to their owner.
The December 20, 2017 renewal order also included evidence indicating that Mahan Airways was continuing to operate a number of aircraft subject to the Regulations, including aircraft originally procured from or through Al Naser Airlines, on flights into and out of Iran, including from/to Lahore, Pakistan, Shanghai, China, Ankara, Turkey, Kabul, Afghanistan, and Baghdad, Iraq.
The June 14, 2018 renewal order outlined evidence that Mahan began actively operating EP-MMT, an Airbus A340 aircraft (MSN 292) acquired in 2017 and previously registered in Kazakhstan under tail number UP-A4003, on international flights into and out of Iran.
It also discussed evidence that Mahan continued to operate a number of aircraft subject to the Regulations, including, but not limited to, EP-MME, EP-MMF, and EP-MMH, on international flights into and out of Iran, including from/to Beijing, China.
The June 14, 2018 renewal order also noted OFAC's May 24, 2018 designation of Otik Aviation, a/k/a Otik Havacilik Sanayi Ve Ticaret Limited Sirketi, of Turkey, as an SDGT pursuant to Executive Order 13224, for providing material support to Mahan, as well as OFAC's designation as SDGTs of an additional twelve aircraft in which Mahan has an interest.
The June 14, 2018 order also cited the April 2018 arrest and arraignment of a U.S. citizen on a three-count criminal information filed in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey involving the unlicensed exports of U.S.-origin aircraft parts valued at over $2 million to Iran, including to Mahan Airways.
The December 11, 2018 renewal order detailed publicly available information showing that Mahan Airways had continued operating a number of aircraft subject to the EAR, including, but not limited to, EP-MMB, EP-MME, EP-MMF, and EP-MMQ, on international flights into and out of Iran from/to Istanbul, Turkey, Guangzhou, China, Bangkok, Thailand, and Dubai, UAE.
It also discussed that OEE's continued investigation of Mahan Airways and its affiliates and agents had resulted in an October 2018 guilty plea by Arzu Sagsoz, a Turkish national, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, stemming from her involvement in a conspiracy to export a U.S.-origin aircraft engine, valued at approximately $810,000, to Mahan.
The December 11, 2018 order also noted OFAC's September 14, 2018 designation of Mahan-related entities as SDGTs pursuant to Executive Order 13224, namely, My Aviation Company Limited, of Thailand, and Mahan Travel and Tourism SDN BHD, a/k/a Mahan Travel a/k/a Mihan Travel & Tourism Start Printed Page 34411SDN BHD, of Malaysia.
As general sales agents for Mahan Airways, these companies sold cargo space aboard Mahan Airways' flights, including on flights to Iran, and provided other services to or for benefit of Mahan Airways and its operations.
The June 5, 2019 renewal order highlighted Mahan's continued violation of the TDO and the Regulations. An end-use check conducted by BIS in Malaysia in March 2019 uncovered evidence that, on approximately ten occasions, Mahan had caused, aided and/or abetted the unlicensed export of U.S.-origin items subject to the Regulations from the United States to Iran via Malaysia. The items included helicopter shafts, transmitters, and other aircraft parts, some of which are listed on the Commerce Control List and controlled on anti-terrorism grounds. The June 5, 2019 order also detailed publicly available flight tracking information showing that Mahan continues to unlawfully operate a number of aircraft subject to the EAR on flights into and out of Iran, including on routes to and from Damascus Syria.
The June 5, 2019 order also described actions taken by both BIS and OFAC to thwart efforts by entities connected to or acting on behalf of Mahan Airways to violate U.S. export controls and sanctions related to Iran. On May 14, 2019, BIS added Manohar Nair, Basha Asmath Shaikh, and two co-located companies that they operate, Emirates Hermes General Trading and Presto Freight International, LLC, to the Entity List pursuant to § 744.11 of the Regulations, including for engaging in activities to procure U.S.-origin items on Mahan's behalf.
On January 24, 2019, OFAC designated as SDGTs Flight Travel LLC, which is Mahan's general service agent in Yerevan, Armenia, and Qeshm Fars Air, an Iranian airline which operates two U.S.-origin Boeing 747s 
and is owned or controlled by Mahan, and also linked to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force (IRGC-QF).
The December 2, 2019 renewal order noted that OEE's on-going investigation revealed that U.S.-origin passenger flight and database management software subject to the Regulations was provided to a company in Turkey and subsequently used to facilitate and service Mahan's operations into and out of Turkey in further violation of the Regulations.
Additionally, open source information, including flight tracking data and news articles published in October 2019, showed that Mahan Airways was now operating a U.S.-origin Boeing 747 on routes between Iranian airports in Tehran, Kish Island, and Mashhad. This aircraft, bearing Iranian tail number EP-MNB, appears to be one of the three aircraft that Mahan illegally acquired via Blue Airways of Armenia and U.K.-based Balli Group that resulted in the issuance of the original TDO.
See supra at 10-12.
Evidence was also described in the December 2, 2019 renewal order showing that on or about November 11, 2019, Mahan caused, aided and/or abetted the unlicensed export of a U.S.-origin atomic absorption spectrometer, an item subject to the Regulations, from the United States to Iran via the UAE. Finally, publicly-available flight tracking information showed that Mahan continued to unlawfully operate a number of aircraft subject to the EAR on flights into and out of Iran, including on routes to and from Guangzhou, China, Istanbul, Turkey, and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
OEE's May 6, 2020 renewal request and on-going investigation further demonstrate the nature of Mahan Airway's prior actions and its continued actions in violation of the TDO and the Regulations, both directly and through its widespread network of procurement agents, front companies, and intermediaries.
Subsequent to the December 2, 2019 renewal, Ali Abdullah Alhay and Issam Shammout, parties added to the TDO in May and July 2015, respectively, were each indicted on 17 counts in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. Alhay and Shammout were charged with, among other violations, conspiring to export aircraft and parts to Mahan in violation of export control laws and the embargo on Iran beginning around August 2012 through May 2015. Mahan Airways also continues to violate the TDO by operating a number of aircraft subject to the Regulations, including, but not limited to, EP-MMD, EP-MMF, and EP-MMI, aircraft originally acquired from Al Naser Airlines, on international flights into and out of Iran from/to Bangkok, Thailand, Dubai, UAE, and Shanghai, China. These flights have continued since the renewal request was submitted, including May 8-10, 2020.
Finally, OEE is continuing its efforts to disrupt Mahan's acquisition of aircraft and parts subject to the Regulations as well as its role in transporting or forwarding items subject to the Regulations from destinations including, but not limited to, Malaysia to Iran.
Under the applicable standard set forth in § 766.24 of the Regulations and my review of the entire record, I find that the evidence presented by BIS convincingly demonstrates that the denied persons have acted in violation of the Regulations and the TDO; that such violations have been significant, deliberate and covert; and that given the foregoing and the nature of the matters under investigation, there is a likelihood of imminent violations. Therefore, renewal of the TDO is necessary in the Start Printed Page 34412public interest to prevent imminent violation of the Regulations and to give notice to companies and individuals in the United States and abroad that they should continue to avoid dealing with Mahan Airways and Al Naser Airlines and the other denied persons, in connection with export and reexport transactions involving items subject to the Regulations and in connection with any other activity subject to the Regulations.
It is therefore ordered: First, that MAHAN AIRWAYS, Mahan Tower, No. 21, Azadegan St., M.A. Jenah Exp. Way, Tehran, Iran; PEJMAN MAHMOOD KOSARAYANIFARD A/K/A KOSARIAN FARD, P.O. Box 52404, Dubai, United Arab Emirates; MAHMOUD AMINI, G#22 Dubai Airport Free Zone, P.O. Box 393754, Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and P.O. Box 52404, Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and Mohamed Abdulla Alqaz Building, Al Maktoum Street, Al Rigga, Dubai, United Arab Emirates; KERMAN AVIATION A/K/A GIE KERMAN AVIATION, 42 Avenue Montaigne 75008, Paris, France; SIRJANCO TRADING LLC, P.O. Box 8709, Dubai, United Arab Emirates; MAHAN AIR GENERAL TRADING LLC, 19th Floor Al Moosa Tower One, Sheik Zayed Road, Dubai 40594, United Arab Emirates; MEHDI BAHRAMI, Mahan Airways- Istanbul Office, Cumhuriye Cad. Sibil Apt No: 101 D:6, 34374 Emadad, Sisli Istanbul, Turkey; AL NASER AIRLINES A/K/A AL-NASER AIRLINES A/K/A AL NASER WINGS AIRLINE A/K/A ALNASER AIRLINES AND AIR FREIGHT LTD., Home 46, Al-Karrada, Babil Region, District 929, St. 21, Beside Al Jadirya Private Hospital, Baghdad, Iraq, and Al Amirat Street, Section 309, St. 3/H.20, Al Mansour, Baghdad, Iraq, and P.O. Box 28360, Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and P.O. Box 911399, Amman 11191, Jordan; ALI ABDULLAH ALHAY A/K/A ALI ALHAY A/K/A ALI ABDULLAH AHMED ALHAY, Home 46, Al-Karrada, Babil Region, District 929, St. 21, Beside Al Jadirya Private Hospital, Baghdad, Iraq, and Anak Street, Qatif, Saudi Arabia 61177; BAHAR SAFWA GENERAL TRADING, P.O. Box 113212, Citadel Tower, Floor-5, Office #504, Business Bay, Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and P.O. Box 8709, Citadel Tower, Business Bay, Dubai, United Arab Emirates; SKY BLUE BIRD GROUP A/K/A SKY BLUE BIRD AVIATION A/K/A SKY BLUE BIRD LTD A/K/A SKY BLUE BIRD FZC, P.O. Box 16111, Ras Al Khaimah Trade Zone, United Arab Emirates; and ISSAM SHAMMOUT A/K/A MUHAMMAD ISAM MUHAMMAD ANWAR NUR SHAMMOUT A/K/A ISSAM ANWAR, Philips Building, 4th Floor, Al Fardous Street, Damascus, Syria, and Al Kolaa, Beirut, Lebanon 151515, and 17-18 Margaret Street, 4th Floor, London, W1W 8RP, United Kingdom, and Cumhuriyet Mah. Kavakli San St. Fulya, Cad. Hazar Sok. No.14/A Silivri, Istanbul, Turkey, and when acting for or on their behalf, any successors or assigns, agents, or employees (each a “Denied Person” and collectively the “Denied Persons”) may not, directly or indirectly, participate in any way in any transaction involving any commodity, software or technology (hereinafter collectively referred to as “item”) exported or to be exported from the United States that is subject to the Export Administration Regulations (“EAR”), or in any other activity subject to the EAR including, but not limited to:
A. Applying for, obtaining, or using any license, license exception, or export control document;
B. Carrying on negotiations concerning, or ordering, buying, receiving, using, selling, delivering, storing, disposing of, forwarding, transporting, financing, or otherwise servicing in any way, any transaction involving any item exported or to be exported from the United States that is subject to the EAR, or engaging in any other activity subject to the EAR; or
C. Benefitting in any way from any transaction involving any item exported or to be exported from the United States that is subject to the EAR, or from any other activity subject to the EAR.
Second, that no person may, directly or indirectly, do any of the following:
A. Export or reexport to or on behalf of a Denied Person any item subject to the EAR;
B. Take any action that facilitates the acquisition or attempted acquisition by a Denied Person of the ownership, possession, or control of any item subject to the EAR that has been or will be exported from the United States, including financing or other support activities related to a transaction whereby a Denied Person acquires or attempts to acquire such ownership, possession or control;
C. Take any action to acquire from or to facilitate the acquisition or attempted acquisition from a Denied Person of any item subject to the EAR that has been exported from the United States;
D. Obtain from a Denied Person in the United States any item subject to the EAR with knowledge or reason to know that the item will be, or is intended to be, exported from the United States; or
E. Engage in any transaction to service any item subject to the EAR that has been or will be exported from the United States and which is owned, possessed or controlled by a Denied Person, or service any item, of whatever origin, that is owned, possessed or controlled by a Denied Person if such service involves the use of any item subject to the EAR that has been or will be exported from the United States. For purposes of this paragraph, servicing means installation, maintenance, repair, modification or testing.
Third, that, after notice and opportunity for comment as provided in § 766.23 of the EAR, any other person, firm, corporation, or business organization related to a Denied Person by ownership, control, position of responsibility, affiliation in the conduct of trade or business may also be made subject to the provisions of this Order.
Fourth, that this Order does not prohibit any export, reexport, or other transaction subject to the EAR where the only items involved that are subject to the EAR are the foreign-produced direct product of U.S.-origin technology.
In accordance with the provisions of § 766.24(e) of the EAR, Mahan Airways, Al Naser Airlines, Ali Abdullah Alhay, and/or Bahar Safwa General Trading may, at any time, appeal this Order by filing a full written statement in support of the appeal with the Office of the Administrative Law Judge, U.S. Coast Guard ALJ Docketing Center, 40 South Gay Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21202-4022. In accordance with the provisions of §§ 766.23(c)(2) and 766.24(e)(3) of the EAR, Pejman Mahmood Kosarayanifard, Mahmoud Amini, Kerman Aviation, Sirjanco Trading LLC, Mahan Air General Trading LLC, Mehdi Bahrami, Sky Blue Bird Group, and/or Issam Shammout may, at any time, appeal their inclusion as a related person by filing a full written statement in support of the appeal with the Office of the Administrative Law Judge, U.S. Coast Guard ALJ Docketing Center, 40 South Gay Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21202-4022.
In accordance with the provisions of § 766.24(d) of the EAR, BIS may seek renewal of this Order by filing a written request not later than 20 days before the expiration date. A renewal request may be opposed by Mahan Airways, Al Naser Airlines, Ali Abdullah Alhay, and/or Bahar Safwa General Trading as provided in § 766.24(d), by filing a written submission with the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Export Enforcement, which must be received not later than seven days before the expiration date of the Order.
A copy of this Order shall be provided to Mahan Airways, Al Naser Airlines, Ali Abdullah Alhay, and Bahar Safwa Start Printed Page 34413General Trading and each related person, and shall be published in the Federal Register.
This Order is effective immediately and shall remain in effect for 180 days.
Dated: May 29, 2020.
P. Lee Smith,
Performing the Non-Exclusive Functions and Duties of the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Export Enforcement.
[FR Doc. 2020-12016 Filed 6-3-20; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-DT-P