“examining the alleged role in transporting nuclear-related supplies through Europe by workers of the three airlines”
Lufthansa, which is the flag-carrier of Germany and Europe’s largest airline, 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.
Lufthansa even operates its own cargo terminal at Tehran’s Imam Khomeini Airport. At the same time, the airline has received $55 million in U.S. government contracts since 2000.
Other airlines have taken responsible action to cease operations in Iran, including AirAsia, British Midland International, British Airways, Air France-KLM, and Austrian Airlines. UANI applauds these decisions, and calls on Lufthansa and all others to follow suit.
Iranian regime officials frequently use commercial airlines to travel to international conferences and business meetings. Were Lufthansa 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 travel to other nations.
In a letter sent to Lufthansa CEO, Dr. Christoph Franz, UANI CEO, Ambassador Mark D. Wallace, wrote:
…By a variety of methods, including through its connections to the Ministry of Transportation and Housing, the IRGC has exerted its authority and control over Iran’s airports. …The IRGC leverages its control over the airports for financial gain and to fund its illicit activities.
Unfortunately, despite the fact that the IRGC is clearly in control of the airports, Lufthansa continues to have a significant presence in Iran, providing both regular passenger flights as well as cargo services to Tehran’s Imam Khomeini Airport. Lufthansa also operates its own Lufthansa Cargo terminal sited at IKA Terminal One. 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, Lufthansa is paying such fees directly to the IRGC.
In addition, in November 2009 Lufthansa Cargo was investigated for its role in transporting nuclear material from Russia to Iran, via Germany. Subsequently, in February 2010, customs officials acting on behalf of prosecutors searched the Frankfurt offices of Lufthansa Cargo, “examining the alleged role in transporting nuclear-related supplies through Europe by workers of the three airlines” – Lufthansa, Emirates and AirBridge Cargo.
UANI finds it disturbing that Lufthansa is helping to support IRGC-controlled entities while at the same time benefiting from $55 million in U.S. government contracts since 2000. Similarly, as Germany's national flag carrier, it is surprising that Lufthansa continues to do business in Iran.
UANI has requested a response from Lufthansa by January 21, 2013.