Publishe Date: 7:57 PM - 11/19/2013 | Print

Official: Iran, US Might Resume Direct Flights in 2 Months

Economy - Iranian Deputy Road Minister for Aviation Affairs Ali Mohammad Nourian announced on Tuesday that Iranian airlines will be ready to resume direct flights to the US before the end of 2013 in case an agreement is reached between Tehran and the six world powers (the US, Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany) in the upcoming Geneva talks.

“If the negotiations in the next few days move towards good and positive results, we will be able to start this flight, maximum, in two months (by the end of 2013)," Nourian said.

He said if Iran and the US come into terms to resume their direct flights, they would start with chartered flights.

He said that Iran Air can resume the flights with its Boeing 747 passenger planes and Mahan Air also has three long-distance Air Bus jets which can be used for the same purpose.

On Monday, Iran Air President Farhad Parvaresh announced that his airline is ready to resume direct flights between Iran and the US and that President Rouhani’s administration has also been informed of the same.

“Following the government’s request from airlines to state if they are ready to resume direct flights between Iran and the US, Iran Air declared its readiness in writing to president’s senior aide and also the Civil Aviation Organization,” Parvaresh told FNA yesterday.

He said Iran Air used to operate a direct flight route from Tehran to New York, adding that if it receives the government’s approval it is "ready to resume the same flights with its fleet of Boeing 747".

Meantime, a senior official at the presidential office, underlined that there has been no communication between Iranian and the US officials about resumption of direct flights between the two countries.

“There has been no consultation with the American side on the start of direct flights between Iran and the US,” Mohsen Bahrami told FNA yesterday.

Earlier this month, Head of Iran’s Civil Aviation Organization Ali Reza Jahangirian said everything is ready for the resumption of direct flights between Iran and the US and the CAO is just waiting for the Iranian government's final approval.

“We are currently waiting for the cue of the country’s political authorities to put the flight into operation,” Jahangirian told reporters.

He reiterated that Iran’s Civil Aviation Organization is only in charge of technical aspects of the flight.

Last month, former Head of Iran’s Civil Aviation Organization Hamid Reza Pahlavani announced that Iran is ready to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the US on starting direct flights between the two countries.

Referring to the decree issued by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on resumption of direct flights between Iran and the US, he said his organization is now studying the issue.

Presently, there are a high number of international flights to and from Iran, Pahlavani added.

Iran's Presidential Advisor and Acting Head of the High Council of Iranians Affairs Abroad (HCIAA) Akbar Torkan announced last month that President Rouhani has issued an order for studying the possibility of the resumption of direct flights between Iran and the US to facilitate visits of the two countries’ nationals.

"He has ordered studying the start of direct flights between Iran and the United States in order to obviate the problems facing the Iranian expatriates' visits," Torkan said, addressing a meeting here in Tehran.

President Rouhani has also underlined the necessity for increasing the services provided to all Iranian expatriates living outside the country, according to Torkan.

The United States and Iran broke diplomatic relations in April 1980, after Iranian students seized the United States' espionage center at its embassy in Tehran. The two countries have had tense relations ever since, but have shown willingness to attend talks to help resolve regional issues, including security in Iraq. Yet, the two countries have avoided talks on bilateral issues for the last thirty years.

Washington and its Western allies accuse Iran of trying to develop nuclear weapons under the cover of a civilian nuclear program, while they have never presented any corroborative evidence to substantiate their allegations. Iran denies the charges and insists that its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only.


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