Iran Denies Claim on Saudi Plane’s Airspace Violation

Iranian Foreign Ministry categorically rejected an Iranian MP’s claim that a Saudi aircraft transporting military officials recently violated the Iranian airspace, saying a change in the flight path for foreign planes is a very ordinary issue handled by the Air Defence.

Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif rejected a story by controversial lawmaker Javad Karimi Qoddousi about the Foreign Ministry’s wrong decision to let a plane carrying Saudi military officials leave Iran’s airspace after it became clear that the aircraft was flying over the country without a flight permission.

Zarif said his the ministry was informed of the event just on Tuesday, following the lawmaker’s story.

He said he made contacts with the General Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces yesterday, making it clear that the plane had been carrying oil experts.

“It was a very ordinary event,” the minister stressed, saying the flight had changed its destination and its starting point also contradicted the itinerary with which it had entered Iran’s airspace.

On these occasions, the Air Defense gives the foreign flight the option of landing or correcting its path, Zarif explained, saying the pilot of that flight decided to return home.

The Foreign Ministry did not have any role or information during any of those developments, Zarif stressed, Tasnim reported.

Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi also dismissed the 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, according to Press TV.

Iranian lawmaker Karimi Qoddussi claimed on Tuesday that authorities in Iran’s air defence 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 Zarif, who said the plane should be allowed to return to Saudi Arabia.

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