Risky Business: Leaks Suggest U.S., European Firms Working With Blacklisted Terrorist Iranian Airline

(New York, N.Y.) — Iranian activist hackers affiliated with Cyber Shafarat in January published emails and documentation it obtained suggesting that U.S. and European businesses were engaged in business practices with the Iranian regime’s blacklisted terrorist airline, Mahan Air, which is banned from landing in all of mainland Europe. In response, United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) began an investigation into the veracity of these claims by contacting company leaders in February and expressing its concerns regarding the charges that the businesses may have been engaged with Mahan Air in violation of U.S. sanctions. 

Despite the clear financial and reputational risk of engaging with Iran, not all the firms readily distanced themselves from the allegations.

Padlong It Ltd., based in London, confirmed to UANI that it had separated itself entirely from engagement with Mahan Air in July 2021, less than one year ago. Officials with Fly Montenegro also confirmed that it had ended its cooperation with Mahan Air but did not specify a date. However, efforts to ascertain the validity of Cyber Sharafat’s claims against Spain’s First Flight, Germany’s L&H Trading GmbH and ETSVerification, and BluJay GmbH – recently acquired by Texas-based E2open Parent Holdings, Inc. –have proven unsuccessful. Questions surrounding Mahan Air’s apparent ties to these entities – past and present – remain open. 

In particular, UANI’s letter to E2open Parent Holdings, Inc., a New York Stock Exchange-listed (NYSE: ETWO) leading network-based provider of a cloud-based, mission-critical, end-to-end supply chain management platform demands a proper response. Documents published by Cyber Sharafat indicate that the company’s wholly owned subsidiary, BluJay Solutions GmbH (BluJay), acquired in September 2021 for $1.7 billion, provided or continues to provide the Customs Relationship Management (CRM) software for Mahan Air. Filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission do not reference BluJay’s potential ties to Mahan Air as a risk factor for investors. 

“The severity of the claims made against companies allegedly supporting or engaging in business with Mahan Air warrants a clear and prompt response, and it is troubling that a majority of those accused of illicit business practices have thus far declined to set the record straight,” said UANI research director Daniel Roth. “Iran’s economy is opaque and dominated by front companies controlled by a terrorist organization. But there is nothing opaque about Mahan Air. It flies terrorists to and from Iran and Syria. It transports fighters, weapons and goods for Hezbollah. And it – as well as multiple companies that provide it support – are under U.S. and European sanctions. In 2020, the U.S. Treasury confirmed‘The United States will continue to take action against those supporting this airline.’” 

Mahan Air was first sanctioned in the U.S. in 2011 by the Obama Administration, which recognized the strong ties between Mahan Air and the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps-Qods Force (“IRGC-QF”), a sanctioned Foreign Terrorist Organization (“FTO”). As recently as April 7, 2022, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley described the IRGC-QF as a “terrorist organization”. 

To read UANI’s resource Iran’s Misuse of Civilian Aircraft, please click here.