News ID: 236053
Published: 0519 GMT December 18, 2018

Europeans refusing fuel to Iranian aircraft: Official

Europeans refusing fuel to Iranian aircraft: Official

Iran’s airspace remains open to all international flights, including US airliners, but most European countries refuse fuel to Iranian planes, an official says.

“Iran’s sky is open to all countries, except Israel,” head of the Iranian Civil Aviation Organization (CAO) Ali Abedzadeh said.

Currently, American airplanes are also passing through the Iranian sky and Iran has not imposed restrictions on any country, the official said. Likewise, no country has put any restrictions on the passage of Iranian planes.

However, “unfortunately, most European countries are refusing to supply fuel to Iranian aircraft and this creates problems for us, for which we have plans to overcome,” Abedzadeh said.

Fuel service providers in Europe and some other countries are citing new US sanctions in refusing to refuel Iranian aircraft, Presstv Reported.

“US goal is to cut off foreign flights of Iranian airlines,” Abedzadeh said.

Iran is already angry with the EU over its failure to stop European companies from leaving the Islamic Republic.

For months, the Europeans have been working on a virtual clearing house to process Iran-related transactions independent of the US.

The three main countries behind the initiative - Germany, France and the UK – say they have set up a special purpose vehicle (SPV) to facilitate non-dollar trade with Iran.

However, they appear to be passing the buck on who should take the responsibility for the system and house it.

Last month, Iran’s nuclear chief Ali Akbar Salehi said he had warned the Europeans that Iranian patience was wearing thin.

Salehi said while the European Union’s efforts were encouraging, “we have not yet seen any tangible results.”

Iran is disappointed with a mass exodus of major European companies which began even before the sanctions kicked in after President Donald Trump announced pulling the US out of the nuclear deal in May.

On Monday, national flag carrier Iran Air Chief Executive Farzaneh Sharafbafi called on the European Union to press US authorities to allow delivery of Airbus passenger aircraft purchased by Tehran.

European commercial aircraft manufacturer Airbus signed a contract to sell 100 passenger aircraft to Iran Air after a 2015 nuclear deal was reached with the Islamic Republic.

The US revoked licenses for Airbus as well as Boeing which had signed the delivery of 80 planes to Iran Air after Trump withdrew from the nuclear deal.

“We hope that the EU can get the OFAC (Office of Foreign Assets Control) licenses for delivery of purchased Airbus planes,” Sharafbafi said.

The official urged the EU to press US authorities, “as OFAC licenses were issued for ATR planes” built by the Franco-Italian turboprop maker which had signed to deliver 20 planes to Iran Air.

ATR delivered 13 aircraft, some of which came after OFAC had withdrawn the licenses, with the rest remaining on order.

Airbus delivered only three aircraft before the licenses were withdrawn. The Europeans say they have to get American permits for their deliveries because 10 percent of the components of the aircraft are US-made.

On Wednesday, a top official said Iran needs some 500 planes and would likely back buying the Sukhoi Superjet 100 if Russia is willing to sell them to its airlines.

Russian officials have been reported as saying Sukhoi is working on reducing the number of US parts in the hopes of winning an Iranian order for up to 100 aircraft.

"If the Iranian airlines want to use this aircraft (Superjet 100 ) and the seller is willing to sell it to Iran, the Civil Aviation Organization is ready to issue its final comment on this aircraft,” Abedzadeh said.

   
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