All Qatari airlines have transferred their flights from the Persian Gulf Arab states to Iran’s airspace after ties between Doha and a number of these countries darkened, an Iranian official said on Tuesday.
“As of today, all flights performed by Qatari airlines will cross the Iranian airspace to travel to Africa and Europe,” an informed source at Iran Airports and Air Navigation Company said.
The source referred to the situation of Qatari airlines following the recent diplomatic challenges between Doha and a number of Arab countries leading to a ban on passing through skies of Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt, and said, “The four major Persian Gulf littoral and North African states have announced that Qatar Airways, the state-owned flag carrier of Qatar, will be banned from using their airspaces as of today, June 06.”
The official underlined that given the current circumstances, the only option left for Qatari flights would be flying through Iran’s sky.
Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, Egypt and Libya have cut diplomatic ties and sealed off all land, sea and air contacts with Qatar, accusing the Persian Gulf country of supporting terrorism and interfering in their internal affairs.
Riyadh took the lead on Monday to sever relations and some of its small allies fell in line after Riyadh “urged all brotherly countries and companies to do the same.” The “decisive” measure, the Saudi statement said, was due to “gross violations committed by authorities in Qatar over the past years.” Qatar denies any wrongdoing.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif urged the Persian Gulf littoral states to avoid engaging in tensions and instead resort to dialogue and peaceful solution.
“Neighbors are permanent; geography can’t be changed,” Zarif wrote on his Twitter page on Monday in reaction to the rift between Qatar and Saudi Arabia followed by severed diplomatic relations between Doha and the Saudi allies.
The Iranian foreign minister urged Riyadh and Doha governments to exercise self-restraint, saying, “Coercion is never the solution. Dialog is imperative, especially during blessed Ramadan.”