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.

Iranian state media reported the ban on Tuesday without quoting the airline or officials in Tehran. The U.S. Treasury Department imposed sanctions on Mahan Air in 2011 after alleging that it aided the Revolutionary Guard's elite Quds Force and provided support to Lebanon's Iranian-backed militant group Hezbollah.

Tensions between Sunni-ruled Saudi Arabia and Shiite power Iran remain high after the kingdom's January execution of a prominent Shiite cleric and protesters later storming Saudi diplomatic posts in the Islamic Republic.