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`Tech problem` delayed Merkel plane overflight: Iran

Iran blamed a technical problem after its airspace was closed to Angela Merkel`s plane.



Tehran: Iran on Tuesday blamed a "technical
problem" after its airspace was briefly closed to German
Chancellor Angela Merkel`s plane as she flew to India,
delaying her arrival and sparking a diplomatic row.

"The problem affecting the overflight of Iranian
airspace by German Chancellor Angela Merkel`s plane was caused
only by a technical question that was immediately resolved and
it was able to continue," the foreign ministry said.

"The necessary authorisations were given for her plane
to transit Iranian airspace, and the German embassy was
informed of this," the official IRNA news agency quoted
ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast as saying.

Merkel, speaking at a news conference in New Delhi,
declined to go into detail about the inconvenience, which saw
her plane circle for two hours over Turkey before receiving
permission to cross the Islamic republic.

But her foreign minister, Guido Westerwelle, said the
incident "shows a lack of respect towards Germany that we will
not accept."

Germany is one of six world powers trying to convince
Tehran to abandon sensitive nuclear work, which they fear is a
front for a drive to develop an atomic arsenal. Iran denies
such intentions.

PTI

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