— R.Saddler (@Politics_PR) April 18, 2014
No one seems to have an explanation for why a plane belonging to the Bank of Utah has been spotted in the Mehrabad Airport in Tehran, Iran.
The US has strict sanctions on Iran which includes prohibitions on most American aircraft entering the country – though both the Treasury Department and FAA are not commenting one way or the other on the plane. Nor is the government of Iran.
President Obama has warned that Iran is not open for business, even as the United States has loosened some of its punishing economic sanctions as part of an interim nuclear pact.
Yet, on Tuesday morning, Iran had an unlikely visitor: a plane, owned by the Bank of Utah, a community bank in Ogden that has 13 branches throughout the state. Bearing a small American flag on its tail, the aircraft was parked in a highly visible section of Mehrabad Airport in Tehran.
Was it a screw up of a covert mission? Is the Bank of Utah breaking the law? The questions only multiply given that no one is talking.
Now it is worth noting that the Bank of Utah serves as the company of record or trustee for 1,169 aircraft “ranging from Boeing 747s to single-engine Cessnas” according to the New York Times. The FAA only lists one company as an owner, which in the case of the plane in Iran is the Bank of Utah.
The Bank of Utah claims they are unable to disclose the investors in the plane that landed in Iran or any other plane they serve as trustee of. Though the possibility of being involved in shady dealings in Iran has made the Bank of Utah nervous and open to pulling out.
For his part, Mr. King said Thursday in an interview that he was trying to get to the bottom of the aircraft’s presence in Tehran. “The Bank of Utah is very conservative, and located in the conservative state of Utah,” he said. “If there is any hint of illegal activity, we are going to find out and see whether we need to resign” as trustee.
OK, but presumably the Bank of Utah knows who the investors in the plane are. If those investors are Americans doing business with Iran there would seem to be a “hint” illegal activity.
It is also a bit surprising neither the US nor Iranian government are interesting in commenting on the aircraft. Perhaps that could change and we will learn what is going on.