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Iran Air Appoints New U.S.-Sanctioned CEO

French-made ATR-72s owned by Iran Air sit on the hanger of Iran Air in Tehran.

Iran has appointed a new chief of its national airline, state news reported, replacing its first female CEO with a former air-force commander who is on a U.S. blacklist.

Turaj Dehghani Zanganeh, a former air-force commander who features on a U.S. Treasury sanctions list, was named CEO of Iran Air at a government meeting on May 5.

He will replace Farzaneh Sharafbafi, the first Iranian woman with a PhD in aerospace, who ran the airline for two years.

Zanganeh was previously CEO of Meraj Air, which was also targeted by U.S. sanctions early last year.

Iran Air had been planning to upgrade its aging aircraft fleet after U.S. sanctions were lifted following a landmark 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers.

But U.S. President Donald Trump pulled out of the accord last year, reimposing crippling economic sanctions, and the U.S. Treasury Department revoked licenses for Boeing and Airbus to sell passenger jets to Iran.

Based on reporting by Reuters and AFP