Iran keeps Merkel waiting in midair for two hours
German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s trip to India was delayed when the Islamic Republic refused to let her plane enter Iranian airspace.
AFP reports that German government spokesman Steffen Seibert, in a short Twitter message, revealed that the Islamic Republic took the unprecedented step against the German chancellor’s Airbus 340.
Der Spiegel reported that the Chancellor’s plane, with a large German delegation on board, was denied permission to fly over Iranian territory. The plane was forces to circle over Turkey for two hours while Turkey mediated negotiations between German diplomats and Iranian authorities.
Another aircraft carrying several members of the German cabinet, including Defence Minister Thomas de Maiziere and Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich, was able to fly over Iran without any delays.
Calling the incident “unacceptable,” German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said he has summoned the Iranian ambassador to inform him that “such a breach of international conventions will in no way be tolerated by Germany.”
Iran did not give clear reasons for the delay; however, the incident comes days after the EU voted to impose further restrictive measures against Iran over its nuclear program.