At least one Iranian airline is still continuing flights to China, despite the dangerous spread of coronavirus in Iran, a flight tracking website said.
Mahan airlines, with links to the Islamic Revolution Guard Corps (IRGC) and sanctioned by U.S., flew from Beijing to Tehran (Flight W578) three days ago and landed at 4:40 in the morning in the Imam Khomeini Airport in Tehran, Flightradar24 website said.
Iran announced its first cases of coronavirus infections and deaths on February 19 and since then the number of fatalities has increased to 8, with at least dozens diagnosed with the disease.
Iran’s Vice President Es’haq Jahangiri and several minister had decided January 31 to stop all flights to and from China, but since then other officials have admitted Mahan continues its flights, claiming not for carrying passengers. But reports later indicated the company is flying Chinese citizens, who have few options of air travel since the outbreak of the virus, to Turkey and back.
In 2011, Mahan airline was designated by the U.S. Treasury for supporting the Revolutionary Guard's Qods Force