Iran General NewsIran planes being refused fuel in Europe

Iran planes being refused fuel in Europe

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Reuters: Iran confirmed that some companies at European airports were refusing to sell it fuel, and its flag carrier said planes were making unscheduled stops en route to Tehran because they could not refuel in London.

By Ramin Mostafavi

TEHRAN, Oct 19 (Reuters) – Iran confirmed that some companies at European airports were refusing to sell it fuel, and its flag carrier said planes were making unscheduled stops en route to Tehran because they could not refuel in London.

Iran has played down the impact of international sanctions, which were tightened in June, and previously dismissed reports that Iranian airlines were having problems refuelling abroad as part of a “psychological war”.

But when asked about the issue at his weekly news conference on Tuesday, foreign ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said, “Unfortunately, some western companies have adopted inappropriate policies.

“Our advice to their governments is not to act beyond the regulations and even that illegal resolution,” he said, referring to new U.N. sanctions aimed at pressuring Iran over its nuclear programme.

State-owned Iran Air said on its website that “ongoing fuel supply problems at London Heathrow” meant passengers could expect Tehran-bound flights to stop off at Hamburg or Vienna to refuel, adding an estimated 90 minutes to the usual flight time of around six and a half hours.

“Talks to restore normal fuel supplies at Heathrow are continuing as a matter of priority, and it is hoped that the situation will return to normal in the very near future. In the meantime, decisions regarding the possible re-routing will be taken on a flight-by-flight basis,” the airline said.

Royal Dutch Shell was among the first to decide not to renew contracts to supply Iran Air with fuel, an industry source said in July. Other companies have since been cited in news reports as cutting supplies to the flag carrier.

“The continuation of this approach by these companies will jeopardise their interests … besides we will not tolerate it, and confronting them is in the agenda,” Mehmanparast said. He did not specify what form any retaliation might take.

Iran Air’s main rival airline on the London route is bmi, a subsidiary of Germany’s Lufthansa.

Iran has been hit by a new wave of international sanctions over its nuclear enrichment activities. The measures have reduced the number of suppliers willing to sell the country gasoline and have made international financial transactions more difficult to reach.

The United States and its European allies fear Iran is trying to build a bomb under cover of a civilian nuclear program. Iran says it needs nuclear technology to generate power and is not seeking atomic weapons.

(Writing by Ramin Mostafavi, Editing by Jane Baird)

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