UANI Calls on Alitalia Airlines, Others, to End Iran Flights Due to IRGC Control of Airports

  UANI Calls on Alitalia Airlines, Others, to End Iran Flights Due to IRGC
  Control of Airports

Business Wire

NEW YORK -- February 19, 2013

Today, United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) continued its Airports Campaign,
calling on Italian airline Alitalia to stop its services to and from Iran.
UANI also called on both Russia’s Aeroflot and Turkish Airlines to cease their
Iran operations.

Alitalia, the flag carrier and national airline of Italy, maintains regular
flights and cargo services to Iran, where airports are controlled by the
blacklisted Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC). The IRGC’s control of
transportation hubs is essential to achieving its illicit and deadly aims.

Other airlines have taken the responsible action of ceasing operations in
Iran, including AirAsia, British Midland International, British Airways, Air
France-KLM, and Austrian Airlines.

Iranian regime officials frequently use commercial airlines to travel to
international conferences and business meetings. Were Alitalia and the
remaining outliers to cease their Iran operations, the regime would be
severely isolated and ultimately forced to choose between having a nuclear
weapon, or having the ability to freely travel internationally.

In a letter sent to Alitalia CEO, Andrea Ragnetti, UANI CEO, Ambassador Mark
D. Wallace, wrote:

By a variety of methods, including through its ties to the Ministry of
Transportation and Housing, the IRGC has exerted its authority and control
over Iran’s airports. … For example, according to Mohammed Ali Moshaffeq, an
aide to dissident Iranian politician Mehdi Karrubi, at least 25 gates at
Tehran International Airport operate outside the official customs office and
have been placed under control of the IRGC. In fact, it is reported that the
IRGC runs the main international airport of Iran, Imam Khomeini International
Airport (“IKA”) — the same airport in which Alitalia has an active presence.
Disturbingly, IKA also functions as “a hub for arresting political dissidents
fleeing the Islamic Republic... with boarding gate security run by the
[IRGC].” …

The IRGC leverages its control over the airports and other transportation hubs
for financial gain and to fund its illicit activities, as well as to deliver
arms to its terrorist proxies and import sensitive materials necessary for the
regime's nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

                                     ****

Unfortunately, despite the fact that the IRGC is clearly in control of the
airports, Alitalia continues to have a significant presence in Iran. Alitalia
maintains an Iran office in Tehran, as advertised on its website. Alitalia
provides both regular passenger flights from Rome Fiumicino Airport (FCO) as
well as cargo services to Tehran’s Imam Khomeini Airport. As you know, all
airport users are subject to various fees for using the airport facilities,
pertaining to landing, passenger service, parking, terminal facilities,
security and other services. In this case, Alitalia is paying such fees
directly to the IRGC.

UANI has sent separate letters to Aeroflot Airlines and Turkish Airlines,
calling for the end of their Iran operations.

UANI has previously called on Lufthansa, Europe’s largest airline, to end its
services to and from Iran.

Click here to read UANI’s full letter to Alitalia.
Click here to send a message to Alitalia.
Click here to read UANI’s letter to Aeroflot Airlines.
Click here to read UANI’s letter to Turkish Airlines.
Click here to learn more about UANI’s Airports Campaign.

Contact:

United Against Nuclear Iran
Nathan Carleton, 212-554-3296
press@uani.com
 
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