Iranian Airlines and Middle East Corona Virus Spread Through Flights

Iranian Airlines and Middle East Corona Virus Spread Through Flights

An Iranian airline, Mahan Air, flew passengers infected with the corona virus to Iraq and Lebanon and between Iran and China. Triggering the spread of the virus throughout the Middle East.

Mahan Air, a private company linked to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) of Iran, and under sanctions by the United States. Continued to fly to China and elsewhere for weeks after Tehran officially banned flights to and from the country on January 31.

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Airlines lied about this flight, according to an investigation carried out by British media, BBC. Arrival and departure data from Imam Khomeini airport in the Iranian capital, Tehran and Chinese airports show flights continue until March.

One flight reported by the BBC was on 6 February. The plane brought 70 Iranian students back from the city of Wuhan in central China, the origin of the corona virus, and they traveled to Iraq on the same day.

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Mahan Air claims to have ended all flights from China after the Iranian student newspaper criticized the February 6 flight. But there are 55 more flights from Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen until February 23. According to data from Flightradar24 commercial flight trackers confirmed by the BBC.

The planes heading to Tehran from China also make the next trip within 24 hours to Barcelona (Spain), Dubai, Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), and Istanbul (Turkey).

The cabin crew expressed concern about the lack of personal protective equipment (PPE), and detention actions on the plane, but were silenced by the airline, according to the report.

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Cases in Iraq and Lebanon

Investigations by the BBC also showed that the first confirmed case of virus infection in Iraq and Lebanon came from the Mahan Air flight.

Mahan Air claims that they sent humanitarian assistance to China and there were no flights for passengers. The data shows this is not like that, and they are confirmed as passenger flights.

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The BBC saw that the lack of PPE and medical equipment in Iran during the corona virus crisis also made it very unlikely they were supplying humanitarian aid to China.

Previously, the Iranians themselves admitted that the transmission of the corona virus in the country originated from China. The Iranian epidemiology team began their research since finding the first corona virus case in Qom. Deputy health minister Alireza Raisi said on Wednesday (25/3) quoted by Al Arabiya.

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“Based on the findings, this disease is clear and specific from Chinese workers and students in Qom,” Raisi added. Referring to Chinese students studying at Al-Mustafa International University (MIU). A state-funded Shiite seminary and based in Qom with nearly 40,000 foreign students study there.

Banned in Various Countries

Mahan Air operations have been highlighted throughout the world. The US established it as a supporter of terrorism in 2011, because the airline supported the Quds Force from the IRGC. Saudi Arabia has banned the airline in the country’s territory. Germany, France, Spain and Italy have revoked landing rights in the territories of these countries for this airline.

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Regarding the COVID-19 pandemic in Iran, BBC Persia has also reported about the number of deaths from the corona virus in the country. Which was mentioned far higher than the official Iranian health authority reported. The media, based in Londong, UK, quoted sources in hospitals in Iran.

Iran responded angrily at the end of February. The Iranian Health Ministry condemned the BBC Persia which said the data on the number of victims was fake.

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Accuses the television of pursuing a political agenda amid public scare due to the spread of the epidemic. According to a local news agency report, Fars.

So far, Iran has recorded 99,970 cases of corona virus infection which were confirmed and are the worst in the Middle East. While the death toll reached 6,340 people. (BBC / Al Arabiya / Fars / Arab News)

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