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Thu, Sep 21, 2006

Iranian 707 Diverted To Istanbul

Plane Had Been Denied Entry To US

Just in case you thought airspace violations are only a problem in here in the US... Turkey forced an unidentified Boeing 707 to land at Istanbul late Tuesday night.

The flight, headed for Tehran, carried the delegation accompanying Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on his tour of the Caribbean and South America.  The flight had departed the Venezuelan capital of Caracas several hours before it showed up on an Istanbul tower controller's radar.

Since the flight had no clearance to fly over Turkey, the controller demanded the aircraft land immediately -- which, probably to his relief, it did.

A report from China's official Xinhua news agency says the Iranian delegation was detained aboard the aircraft "without food or water."

Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister for Arabian and African Affairs Mohammad Reza Bagheri, who was among the passengers of the flight, summoned the Turkish Ambassador to express Iran's strong protest -- calling the delegation's detention "illegitimate and illegal."

As far as we know, no mention was made about the relative legality of overflying a sovereign nation without authorization. Apparently, the Iranian delegates had applied for and been denied entry visas to the US, so they were on their way home.

The question is, did they just get lost, or were they late for a meeting and decided to take a short cut? We can't decide which would be worse for flying in that part of the world...



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