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Iran Denies Blocking German Chancellor's Plane.

Summary: TEHRAN (FNA)- Iran rejected the claim by Germany that it had blocked entry of German Chancellor Angela Merkel's plane into its airspace, and said a misconnection between Merkel's pilot and the Iranian air controllers caused the delay in issuing the needed permission.

Merkel's plane was flying to India on Tuesday but had to circle over Turkey for about two hours before it was allowed to enter Iranian airspace.

"The permission required for the passage of the airplane carrying Mrs. Merkel through the airspace of the Islamic Republic of Iran had been issued in time," Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ramin Mehman-Parast said.

He added that the German Embassy in Tehran had been informed on the issuance of the permit.

"The problem regarding the delay of the flight in question for crossing the Islamic Republic of Iran's airspace was caused by a technical glitch that was immediately solved and the plane was able to continue its course," the Iranian official explained.

German officials on board had attributed the delay to "coordination problems".

The delay occurred on the maiden flight of the new German government's Airbus 340, which could have been forced to make a stopover in Turkey for refueling if it had taken it longer to fly over Iran.

The plane, named Konrad Adenauer after post-war Germany's first chancellor, was also carrying a large group of businessmen and journalists.

A second German plane with four German government ministers onboard flew over the country without a problem and landed on time in New Delhi.

The German Foreign Ministry said it summoned the Iranian ambassador for explanation.

Following the event, the Iranian Embassy in Berlin issued a statement, where it blamed the pilot of German Chancellor Angela Merkel for the delayed passage of Merkel's plane through Iran to India.

The Iranian diplomatic mission said that Merkel's pilot did not send the proper call sign and thus was not able to cross Iranian airspace.

The embassy pointed out that two other German planes did manage to cross Iran's skies by giving the right call sign only hours before Merkel's aircraft was delayed because of the wrong call signs.

It added that Iran's Ambassador to Germany Ali Reza Sheikh Attar was contacted by the political director of the German foreign ministry, Emily Haber at 2:30 am (local time) on Tuesday and was told that Merkel's plane was refused entry into airspace.

The embassy stressed that within 20 minutes the problem was resolved and Merkel's aircraft was allowed to proceed into Iranian airspace.

Iran's diplomatic mission slammed efforts by certain media outlets to turn a simple technical issue into a political case.

It also pointed out that a former Iranian foreign minister had in the past faced a similar situation in Germany.

In a meeting with Germany's deputy foreign minister earlier in the day, Sheikh Attar informed him of the exact circumstances of the issue.

Sheikh Attar lamented the unconstructive behavior of the German side.

The statement hailed Merkel's approach on the case by avoiding turning a technical issue into a complicated matter.

The Iranian Embassy expressed its readiness to review a likely German request for further clarifications on the case.

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Publication:FARS News Agency
Geographic Code:4EUGE
Date:Jun 1, 2011
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