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Iran Air says Germany not refusing refuelling

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Iran Air says Germany not refusing refuelling
An Iran Air flight leaves the Hamburg airport in 2009. Photo: DPA
15:06 CEST+02:00
The German office of Iran Air, the national carrier, dismissed Iranian reports Monday that Germany had refused to refuel Iranian passenger planes since Washington imposed unilateral sanctions.

"It is not correct," Mohammad Reza Rajabi, the head of the airline's operations in Germany, told AFP when asked about the reports by Iran's ISNA news agency.

ISNA said earlier that airports in Britain, Germany and the United Arab Emirates had denied fuel to Iranian passenger planes since last Thursday, after Washington imposed the sanctions on Tehran. IRNA, the official state news agency, said in a separate report that Kuwaiti airports have also turned down fuel for Iranian planes.

But Rajabi said flight - and fuelling - service had continued without interruption in Germany.

"We have not had any problems," he said. "Yesterday we had flights and today and tomorrow again we will fly."

The German Transportation Ministry said in a statement that neither US nor United Nations sanctions covered the refuelling of Iranian passenger planes, without a specific reaction to the Iranian reports.

ISNA had quoted Mehdi Aliyari, secretary of Iranian Airlines Union, as saying "airports in England, Germany, the UAE have refused to give fuel to Iranian planes."

Aliyari said their refusal has so far impacted Iran Air, the national carrier, and a leading private airline, Mahan Air, as both operate several flights to Europe. According to its website Iran Air flies into Germany's major international hub of Frankfurt, as well as airports in Hamburg and Cologne. Mahan Air flies into Düsseldorf.

Pervez Sorouri, a lawmaker and member of Iranian parliament's committee on foreign policy and national security, warned of a retaliatory action by Tehran, especially towards the United Arab Emirates.

Last Thursday, US President Barack Obama signed into law the toughest ever US sanctions on Iran, which he said would strike at Tehran's capacity to finance its nuclear programme and deepen its isolation.

The measures, on top of new United Nations and European sanctions, aim to choke off Iran's access to imports of refined petroleum products like gasoline and jet fuel, and to curb its access to the international banking system.

"With these sanctions - along with others - we are striking at the heart of the Iranian government's ability to fund and develop its nuclear programmes," Obama said before signing the sanctions into law.

"There should be no doubt: the United States and the international community are determined to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons."

World powers led by Washington suspect Tehran is making nuclear weapons under the guise of a civilian atomic programme. Iran says its nuclear programme is purely for peaceful purposes.

On June 9, the UN Security Council imposed a fourth set of sanctions against Iran, which was followed by unilateral punitive measures by the European Union and later by the United States.

Iran could lodge a complaint to the United Nations and the International Civil Aviation Organisation over the action of these airports, lawmaker Kazem Jalali was quoted as saying by the English-language Iran News.

"A special committee has been set up in the Iranian majlis (parliament) to study the US sanctions on jet fuel," Jalali said. "The US president has done his best to isolate the Islamic republic of Iran but to no avail."

On Monday, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad once again dismissed the sanctions imposed on Iran.

"The sanctions that they have imposed do not strike a blow at Iran ... They have imposed these sanctions to defend themselves and they know they cannot do anything," the hardliner said in the northwestern city of Bonab.

All the four set of UN sanctions have been imposed on Iran under the presidency of Ahmadinejad who has defiantly pursued Tehran's nuclear programme.

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