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Iran Says German Ban On Mahan Air 'Hasty, Unjustifiable'

An Airbus A340-300 of of Iran's Mahan Air takes off from Duesseldorf airport on January 16.

Tehran has criticized Germany's decision to ban Iran's second-largest airline from its airports, calling the move "hasty and unjustifiable."

The move to revoke the license of Mahan Air was "in conflict with the spirit governing the long-standing relations between the Iranian and German nations" and "contrary to the interests of bilateral relations," Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi said on January 22.

The comments come a day after Berlin announced the decision to ban Mahan Air from landing in Germany, citing "security concerns" and the company's activities in Syria.

German Foreign Ministry spokesman Christofer Burger said that Mahan had ties to Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps and provided military transport flights between Iran and Syria.

However, Qasemi said the German decision was based on false information from countries aiming to disrupt bilateral relations between Berlin and Tehran.

Tehran has accused the United States and Israel of attempting to undermine Tehran's relations with Europe in order to sabotage the 2015 deal that lifted sanctions against Iran in exchange for restrictions on its nuclear program.

Mahan Air has been under U.S. sanctions since 2011, and Washington has been urging other countries to penalize the airline. The U.S. Treasury has threatened to impose sanctions on countries or firms offering Mahan landing rights or services.

Mahan had been running four flights to Germany each week. The airline continues to fly to around 20 foreign destinations, including Paris and Barcelona.

Based on reporting by IRNA, AFP and dpa