Saudi Arabia bans Iran's Mahan Air from flying into kingdom

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — Saudi Arabia has banned Iran's Mahan Air from flying into the kingdom as tensions between the two Mideast powers remain high.

The kingdom's General Authority of Civil Aviation issued the order Monday night, saying in a statement it banned the airline over "systematic violations" of the country's safety regulations and laws.

Iran's semi-official Tasnim news agency quoted civil aviation official Ebrahim Moradi on Tuesday as saying Iranian airlines currently have no flights to Saudi Arabia and would use different routes to fly to Africa.

The U.S. Treasury Department imposed sanctions on Mahan Air in 2011 after alleging it aided Iran's Revolutionary Guard and Hezbollah.

Tensions between Sunni-ruled Saudi Arabia and Shiite Iran remain high after the kingdom executed a Shiite cleric in January and Iranian protesters stormed Saudi diplomatic posts.