Parisa Hafezi – Reuters July 5, 2010
Iranian officials accused Germany, Britain and the United Arab Emirates on Monday of refusing to refuel Iranian passenger planes due to unilateral U.S. sanctions imposed over its nuclear programme.
"Since last week, our planes have been refused fuel at airports in Britain, Germany and UAE because of the sanctions imposed by America," Mehdi Aliyari, Secretary of the Iranian Airlines Union, told Iran's ISNA news agency.
If confirmed, the new measures will be evidence of a determined intention to make these sanctions really bite.
An airport company in the UAE capital Abu Dhabi denied that any such measure was in place. "We have contracts with Iranian passenger flights and continue to allow refuelling," said a spokeswoman for Abu Dhabi Airports Co (ADAC).
U.S. President Barack Obama on Thursday signed into law far-reaching sanctions on Iran that aim to squeeze the Islamic Republic's fuel imports and deepen its international isolation.
The unilateral U.S. action and other measures planned by the European Union go well beyond a fourth round of U.N. Security Council sanctions against Iran approved on June 9.
Iran is the world's fifth-largest oil producer, but imports various oil products for lack of sufficient refining capacity.
Unlike the U.S. measures, the U.N. sanctions stop short of targeting Iranian imports of refined products.
Western powers believe Iran is trying to build bombs under cover of a civilian nuclear programme. Tehran says the programme is only for electricity generation and medical purposes.
Aliyari said Iran Air, the national carrier, and Mahan Airlines had run into refuelling problems so far. "Refusing to provide fuel to Iranian passenger planes by these countries is a violation of international conventions," he added.
An Iranian lawmaker said his country would retaliate in kind against countries denying fuel to its transport industry.
"Iran will do the same to ships and planes of those countries that cause problems for us," ISNA quoted Heshmatollah Falahatpisheh as saying. "Iran should react firmly to the action taken by some countries like the UAE."
Last updated 06/07/2010