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Iran sparks row by delaying Merkel flight

The Local · 31 May 2011, 17:45

Published: 31 May 2011 08:51 GMT+02:00
Updated: 31 May 2011 17:45 GMT+02:00

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“This is something I have never experienced,” Merkel told reporters upon landing. “The pilots haven’t either.”

The chancellor's plane Konrad Adenauer, had to circle over the Turkish-Iranian border region for more than two hours early Tuesday morning as the situation was sorted out. The plane was finally allowed to continue on its way at the last minute, shortly before it would have had to land in Turkey due to a fuel shortage.

The reasons for the incident were unclear, although Merkel has been highly critical of Iran's human rights' record and its alleged plans to develop nuclear weapons. Iran had given the green light for the overflight on Monday evening, according to the German government.

Another German government plane flew through the country without problems.

German officials later summoned Iran's ambassador to Berlin to lodge a formal diplomatic protest.

"Hindering the German chancellor's passage over Iran is absolutely unacceptable. It shows a lack of respect towards Germany that we will not accept," German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said in a statement.

"That is why I have summoned the Iranian ambassador. We shall make it very plain that such a breach of international conventions will in no way be tolerated by Germany," he added.

Iran late on Tuesday blamed a "technical problem" for closing its airspace to Merkel's plane.

"The problem affecting the overflight of Iranian airspace by German Chancellor Angela Merkel's plane was caused only by a technical question that was immediately resolved and it was able to continue," the Foreign Ministry said.

"The necessary authorisations were given for her plane to transit Iranian airspace, and the German embassy was informed of this," the official IRNA news agency quoted ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast as saying.

Story continues below…

Merkel, who is seeking improved trade between Europe's biggest economy and booming South Asia, met Tuesday with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and President Pratibha Patil during a one-day stop in the Indian capital as part of an Asian tour that will also take her to Singapore.

The Local/AFP/DPA/mdm

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

11:07 May 31, 2011 by jimscott
Mr Ahmadinejad does like to keep himself amused with his little games.
12:39 May 31, 2011 by freechoice
aw! why he want to take it so personally? didn't germany helped iran build their nuclear technology?
12:55 May 31, 2011 by strahlungsamt
What did Germany expect??? Place sanctions on another country, other country retaliates. Sounds like common sense to me.

I know if I was an evil dictator like Ahmadinejad, I wouldn't sit back and take it lightly. She's lucky it wasn't a surface-to-air missile.

(Note: The above is not a reflection of my political opinion. Just using some common sense - something politicians seem to lack these days.)
15:50 May 31, 2011 by Der Grenadier aus Aachen
I don't think annoying the one NATO member that is disinclined to bomb them into the stone age is really a good political move.
17:59 May 31, 2011 by LarsBar
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
19:13 May 31, 2011 by yhsanjay
Iran and international law adherence! Can't go together ever! Do those like Ahmadinejad and the Ayatollahs have any knowledge of civility leave aside international law?The 1979 uprising has changed the face of that country. Not to say that it was much better in the pre-1979 years.

Their airspace is best avoided.
19:19 May 31, 2011 by Beachrider
I don't know of anyone in NATO that wants to bomb Iran into the stone age. HTG, hyperbole in this kind if situation is insensate.

Have fun, I guess...
19:49 May 31, 2011 by wenddiver
Maybe we could just bomb them back to 1450 AD.
20:22 May 31, 2011 by Jack Kerouac
..Or 1930AD, when Iran was just as developed as in 1450AD.

I think it's comical that an Iran spokesman blamed the situation on a "technical problem". It's just airspace! If the necessary authorizations were actually given, why did this incident opccur? Iran is lying through its teeth, and Germany and the rest of the World should unite an deal with this blemish.
14:09 June 2, 2011 by w.g.m.c
so far so good,amazing
20:19 June 2, 2011 by elev8tor
Iran...what a joke of a "government" and a clown for a "leader". Ahmajerkajad does not deserve the title of presidency. Please do something stupid jerkajad...I have been waiting. Waiting for the day to actively obliterate you and your followers.
00:08 June 4, 2011 by DrGideonPolya
Diplomatic conventions contraindicate actions embarrassing to national leaders such as Merkel but are routinely suspended by the US Alliance and US-compliant EU countries when such leaders are out of favour with the US.

Thus Colonel Gaddaffi's assets have been seized and he cannot fly safely anywhere nor live in his compound which has been repeatedly bombed by the US and NATO Luftwaffe. Ditto the leaders of the popularly -supported Taliban in Afghanistan that the US Alliance including Germany have been killing and trying to kill for nearly 10 years.

Indeed Serbian leader Milosevic was seized, arraigned and tried in The Hague for war criminal involvement in the Balkans War in which 200,000 people died.

However no action has yet been taken against "Angel of Death" Angela Merkel who has made Germany complicit in the ongoing Afghan Holocaust and Afghan Genocide (post-invasion, 1.2 million Afghans violently killed, 3.8 million avoidable deaths from war-imposed deprivation, 2.7 million under-5 infant deaths, 90% avoidable and due to US Alliance and German war crimes , and 3-4 million refugees plus 2.5 million Pashtun refugees generated in NW Pakistan).

"Angela of Death" Angela Merkel (party to 5.0 million Afghan deaths) has made Germany party to an Afghan Holocaust of similar magnitude to the WW2 Jewish Holocaust (5-6 million killed, an estimated 1 in 6 dying from deprivation) should be arraigned before the International Criminal Court (ICC) as has been Mladic (10,000 dead in Sarajevo siege; 8,000 men and boys murdered in Srebrenica).
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