U.S. accuses China of helping Iran move weapons, smuggle gold out of Venezuela

The State Department accused China on Tuesday of helping an Iranian airline smuggle gold out of Venezuela and ship U.N.-restricted missile and nuclear items into Iran, saying a Shanghai-based company has facilitated the airline’s nefarious operations.

“The People’s Republic of China is one of the rapidly dwindling number of countries that welcomes Mahan Air, which ferries weapons and terrorists around the world for the Islamic Republic of Iran,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement.

Such cooperation has consequences,” Mr. Pompeo said, announcing that the State and Treasury Departments have moved to blacklist “Shanghai Saint Logistics Limited” from U.S. banking markets and will level sanctions against any other companies in the world found to be doing business with the Chinese firm.

Shanghai Saint Logistics “provides general sales agent services” for the Iranian Mahan Air, the secretary of state said.

The airline has been in the U.S. intelligence community’s crosshairs since the Obama-era. U.S. officials first sanctioned it back in 2011 on accusations it was providing material support to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ special Qods Force.

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