Iran Foreign Ministry rejects claim on airspace violation by Saudi plane

Iran’s Foreign Ministry has rejected a claim by a lawmaker that a Saudi aircraft transporting military officials recently violated the Iranian airspace.

Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qasemi on Wednesday also dismissed allegations that the ministry had been involved in the plane’s return to the Saudi city of Dammam, where it was coming from.

The aircraft was carrying the manager of a private Russian oil company and it had originally obtained permission to fly through Iran’s airspace to the Russian capital, Moscow, on May 25, the Iranian foreign ministry official said.

Qassemi said the plane declared that it was changing route after entering Iran’s airspace, seeking permission to head toward Kyrgyzstan to refuel. The plane’s captain, the Iranian foreign ministry official explained, turned down an offer to refuel in Iran and returned to Dammam.

Iranian lawmaker Javad Karimi Qoddussi claimed on Tuesday that authorities in Iran’s air defense had asked the Saudi plane to land in Shiraz International Airport, but when the pilot insisted it was not possible due to technical reasons, they contacted Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, who said the plane should be allowed to return to Saudi Arabia. Zarif rejected the claim on Wednesday and said he had no role in the case from the very beginning until the plane left the Iranian airspace.


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