Pilots in Service of Quds Force

As part of Iran's continued entrenchment in the region, it is arming the Shiite militias that are under its patronage in Lebanon, Iraq, Syria, and Yemen, as well as Palestinian organizations in the Gaza Strip. The weapons are transferred by air, by sea, and by land. Most of the weapons that are sent to Syria (and from there to Lebanon) are transported in Iranian military and civilian airplanes, some with commercial cover, including the following:

  • IRGC Air Force cargo planes (Ilyushin 76), using the cover and call sign of Simorgh Air.
  • Cargo planes (Ilyushin 76) of Pouya Air, which belongs to the IRGC Air Force and provides commercial cover for transferring weapons.
  • Cargo planes (Boeing 747, 707) of the Iranian military's Air Force, flying under the cover of Caspian Co.  
  • Qods Force cargo planes (Boeing 747) operating under the cover company Qeshm Fars Air.
  • Passenger planes of Mahan Air and other Iranian civilian airlines.

Most of the flights depart from the main airports in Tehran, mostly Mehrabad Airport, which houses an Iranian military Air Force base, an IRGC Air Force base, and special Qods Force transfer areas. Some of the weapons transfer flights depart from Imam Khomeini Airport. The weapons transfers are carried out by experienced flight crews, since this is sensitive activity. Transfers are sometimes carried out on flights using special outlines, under a veil of secrecy.
The pilots and flight crews knowingly endanger innocent bystanders at the civilian airports and on international flight paths. These same flight crews and airplanes that transfer weapons also work on commercial flights to additional destinations outside Iran. Some of the pilots who have completed their military service hold positions in the Iranian commercial airlines.
The dozens of pilots and flight crews who carry out the weapons transfers are under constant surveillance in Iran and abroad. Following are the names of senior pilots involved in the weapons transfers:
 
 
Shahrad Kiani
Senior pilot on IRGC Air Force cargo planes (Ilyushin 76). He has flown hundreds of cargo flights from Iran to Syria in the past few years, including weapons transfers.
Date of birth: 23 September 1978

 

Daud Bakhtiari Marvili
Squadron commander and pilot on IRGC Air Force and cover company Pouya Air cargo planes (Ilyushin 76). He has flown hundreds of cargo flights from Iran to Syria in the past few years, including weapons transfers.  
Date of birth: 22 March 1964
 


Valiollah Moghadam

Senior pilot on IRGC Air Force and cover company Pouya Air cargo planes (Ilyushin 76). He has flown hundreds of cargo flights from Iran to Syria in the past few years, including weapons transfers.
Date of birth: 04 April 1978