Iran, US Mulling Establishment of Direct Flights: Minister

Iranian Minister of Road and Urban Development Abbas Akhondi on Sunday said Iran and the United States are in talks for launching direct flights between the two countries in the wake of the recent removal of anti-Iran sanctions.

Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the ongoing CAPA Iran Aviation Summit here in Tehran, Akhondi said the Iranian Aviation Organization has launched negotiations on establishing a direct flight route between Iran and the US.

Managing Director of Iran Air Farhad Parvaresh also told reporters on Sunday that the country’s aviation officials are in talks with their US counterparts.

“The establishment of this flight route (between Iran and the US) hinges on agreements between the two sides,” he added.

While in New York to attend the 68th session of the UN general assembly back in 2013, Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani had pledged to facilitate travel to homeland for Iranian expatriates residing in the US.

The US, Los Angeles in particular, is home to hundreds of thousands of Iranian expatriates.

Travelers between Iran and the US currently have to change flights in a third country, usually in Europe or the Persian Gulf littoral states. Although personal travel is generally exempted from US sanctions, experts believed there were a couple of major obstacles before an Iran-US direct flight can resume.

The US treasury had barred Iranian airlines including Iran Air from landing or operating in the US. Furthermore, extraterritorial US sanctions used to prevent European airports from providing Iranian carriers with fuel or accepting money from them.

However, with the recent termination of anti-Iran sanctions after the implementation of a nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers on January 16, these obstacles seem to have been removed, and the grounds are expected to be prepared for the establishment of such a route.

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