Iran minister’s trip halted due to banned plane

BUDAPEST - Hungary said on Tuesday it barred Iran’s foreign minister from entering its airspace because his aircraft was not authorised in the European Union.

By (AFP)

Published: Tue 29 Nov 2011, 8:34 PM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 2:45 AM

Budapest initially cited “technical reasons” for the decision, which forced Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi to cancel a trip to The Hague.

In addition, the request to overfly Hungarian territory came too late so “there was not ample time to coordinate,” the foreign ministry said in an emailed statement, adding that the decision to bar the aircraft “was not based on any political considerations.”

“Our ambassador to Tehran clarified the situation in the foreign ministry in Tehran,” it said.

Salehi had planned to attend a conference by the UN-recognised Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.

Iranian authorities expressed scepticism at Budapest’s vague explanation, insisting that several other EU nations had given permission for Salehi to fly through their airspace.

Salehi, the former head of Iran’s nuclear organisation, was removed from an EU travel-ban list after he became foreign minister in January.

The European Union, which already has slapped severe sanctions on Iran, is expected Thursday to announce further measures targeting 200 Iranian individuals and firms.

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