Iran says stopped fueling European aircraft

13 Apr 2011

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Iran has stopped providing fuel to European aircraft in retaliation for their refusal to fuel Iranian aircraft, the state-run Iran newspaper quoted a senior official as saying on Wednesday.

“In a retaliatory move, we have stopped providing fuel to European aircraft,” said first Vice-President Mohammad Reza Rahimi, the daily reported.

Last year, U.S. President Barack Obama signed into law far-reaching new sanctions on Iran that targeted the country’s fuel imports, punishing any company worldwide that exports gasoline or other refined petroleum products to Iran.

Reports said Iranian planes had been denied fuel in Germany, Britain and a Gulf Arab state.

Iran, at loggerheads with the West over its nuclear programme, has been hit by international sanctions over its uranium enrichment activities, which the West says are part of a plan to build a nuclear bomb. Tehran denies the charge.

Iran had warned European countries in 2010 that it would take action if some Western countries continued to refuse to supply fuel for Iranian planes.

Germany’s flagship carrier Deutsche Lufthansa said it would no longer be able to fill up on fuel for its aircraft in Tehran from Thursday.

“We cannot yet say whether the amounts (of jet fuel) will be reduced to zero or whether some amount will be available,” a spokesman for Lufthansa said on Wednesday.

He said it was not yet clear whether the airline would have to schedule refuelling stops elsewhere on its daily flights from Frankfurt to the Iranian capital.

A spokesman for KLM Royal Dutch airline said: “Not much has changed. We’ve already been flying for quite some time from Amsterdam to Tehran and then on the return flight refuel in Athens.”

KLM said in December it no longer got fuel in Tehran, but declined to comment on the issue when asked what the reason was for the blockage.

Oil and gas group OMV said last month it was not supplying Iran’s state airline with fuel any more because of the international sanctions against the Islamic Republic.

Iran is a crude oil producer and a member of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). But it lacks refining capacity to meet its demand because of international sanctions and has for a long time imported 40 percent of its gasoline needs.

The Islamic state announced in 2010 that it had started exporting the fuel.

The U.S. legislation did not make clear whether its new sanctions were intended to require firms to refuse to refuel Iranian aircraft at airports in third countries.

source: Reuters

Tehran Review
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