(MENAFN - Caribbean News Now) By Melanius Alphonse
Caribbean News Now associate managing editor
CARACAS, Venezuela — A delegation of Iranian officials arrived in Venezuela on Monday on a new direct Mahan Air flight from Teheran to Caracas.
Mahan Air, which is Iran's largest and oldest private airline, was blacklisted in 2011 by the United States. The US accused Mehan Air of providing support to the Quds Force, Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard.
The United States views Mahan Air's launch of a direct flight from Tehran to Caracas as a 'politically motivated gesture' with 'no commercial reason,' a White House official said on Monday.
Mahan Air recently halted flights to Germany and France due to US sanctions over its alleged military transport flights to Syria, where Iran supports President Bashar Assad's forces.
However, Iran and Venezuela continue to cultivate closer ties in the face of US sanctions on both countries and Iran continues to fly supplies into Venezuela in support of President Nicolas Maduro, defending its ongoing dealings with Maduro as part of legitimate bilateral relations of no concern to the US.
Iran has joined Russia and China in providing material support to the Maduro regime.