US sanctions Chinese company for working with Iranian airline

US sanctions Chinese company for working with Iranian airline
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Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoPresidents and 'presidents' The Hill's Morning Report - Trump mobilizes military against 'angry mob,' holds controversial photo op The Hill's Campaign Report: Biden addresses protests over George Floyd's death MORE announced on Tuesday that the United States will place sanctions on a Chinese company for its business with an Iranian airline designated by the U.S. as an entity that supports terrorism.

The U.S. has imposed sanctions on Shanghai Saint Logistics Limited, a company based in China, for providing general sales agent services to Mahan Air.

The Iranian airline is under U.S. sanctions for providing support to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, which President TrumpDonald John TrumpSessions accepts 'Fox News Sunday' invitation to debate, Tuberville declines Priest among those police cleared from St. John's Church patio for Trump visit Trump criticizes CNN on split-screen audio of Rose Garden address, protesters clashing with police MORE designated a terrorist organization last year.

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“The People’s Republic of China is one of the rapidly dwindling number of countries that welcomes Mahan Air, which ferries weapons and terrorists around the world for the Islamic Republic of Iran,” Pompeo said in a statement. “Such cooperation has consequences.”

The announcement follows a deterioration in relations between the U.S. and China over the spread of the novel coronavirus. Washington seeks to hold Beijing accountable for the virus's global spread. 

The Treasury Department said in a statement that Shanghai Saint Logistics Limited was singled out for providing services such as freight booking for Mahan Air flights between China and Iran and services ranging from sales, financial, administrative and marketing support to freight reception and handling.

The latest round of sanctions is also part of the Trump administration’s “maximum pressure campaign” on Iran. The campaign has imposed a blanket of sanctions on Iranian companies and international businesses that work with them as an effort to disrupt what the administration says is Tehran’s terror-financing network.

“This designation serves as another reminder that companies still providing services for Mahan Air — in the [People’s Republic of China] or anywhere else — risk potential U.S. sanctions,” Pompeo said.

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The sanctions will freeze any property or financial assets in the U.S. belonging to Shanghai Saint Logistics, prohibits American citizens from working with the company or handling its assets and opens up the possibility for sanctions on other people or businesses working with the company, according to the Treasury Department.

The U.S. has also criticized Mahan Air for lending support to Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro, which the Trump administration considers an illegitimate leader. The Venezuelan leader was reportedly seeking assistance from Iran for its oil industry and paying Tehran in gold bricks, Radio Farda reported.

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnunchin said Tuesday that “the Iranian regime is using Mahan Air to support an illegitimate and corrupt regime in Venezuela, just as it has done for the regime in Syria and for terrorist proxy groups throughout the Middle East.”

“We will not hesitate to target those entities that continue to maintain commercial relationships with Mahan Air,” he said.