Rouhani names new chief for sanction-battered Iran Air

Rouhani names new chief for sanction-battered Iran Air
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has appointed a new chief of state-owned national carrier, Iran Air.
2 min read
06 May, 2019
Rouhani has appointed a new CEO for Iran Air [Getty]

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani appointed a new chief for the national carrier Iran Air on Monday, the country's state media has reported.

The state-owned IRAN media outlet said the decision to name Touraj Zanganeh the CEO of the airline was made during a cabinet meeting on Sunday night.

Zanganeh succeeds Farzaneh Sharafbafi, who was the first female CEO of Iran Air and who was in the post since 2017. The report did not elaborate on the reason for the replacement.

Zanganeh is on a list of individuals under US sanctions since last May. He was previously CEO of Meraj Air, an Iranian government airline that has been on the US sanctions list over suspicions of ferrying weapons and other cargo to Syrian dictator Bashar Assad's government.

He was also an Iranian Air Force commander and was in charge of flights of high-ranking officials, including Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Sanctions on Iran

US President Donald Trump last year withdrew his country from the Iran deal, which still has the support of the UN Security Council and the remaining signatories to the accord: Russia, China, France, the UK, Germany and Tehran.

The objective of the deal was to prevent Iran working to develop nuclear weapons technology. Tehran agreed to the nuclear restrictions in return for a lifting of sanctions originally imposed by Trump's predecessor, Barack Obama.

Nuclear inspectors have certified that Iran has stuck by the terms of the deal.

But Trump, surrounded by hawkish aides, has been progressively ratcheting up sanctions pressure on Iran, demanding it also rein in its conventional military missile programme and pull its forces and proxy fighters out of other Middle East countries.

Trump withdrew from the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) with world powers last year and reimposed crippling sanctions on Iran.

US officials have said they are aiming to choke off Iranian revenue so as to reduce the clerical regime's regional clout, notably its support for militant groups such as Lebanon's Hizballah.

Agencies contributed to this report.