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Iran to look into resuming direct flights with US - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Iranian president Hassan Rouhani steps off his plane upon his arrival at Tehran's Mehrabad Airport, on September 28, 2013. (AFP PHOTO/ATTA KENARE)

Iranian president Hassan Rouhani steps off his plane upon his arrival at Tehran’s Mehrabad Airport, on September 28, 2013. (AFP PHOTO/ATTA KENARE)

London, Asharq Al-Awsat—Iran’s president has asked the country’s aviation authorities to study the possibility of resuming direct flights between Iran and the US for the first time in more than three decades.

The Iranian semi-official ISNA news agency quoted Akbar Torkan, a presidential advisor, as saying on Monday that Iranian president Hassan Rouhani wants to study the possibility of resuming direct flights between the two countries.

Direct flights between the two countries ended after the Iranian Revolution of 1979.

“He [Rouhani] ordered a study on launching a direct flight path between Iran and the US in order to facilitate the travel of Iranian expatriates in the US to Iran,” said Torkan, who is also the caretaker of Supreme Iranian Expatriates Council.

Rouhani’s request is part of wider Iranian efforts to build on the recent ground-breaking exchanges with Washington, which included a telephone conversation last week between the new Iranian president and US president Barack Obama.

According to various sources, more than one million Iranian–Americans live in the US.

In June, Majid Javedani-Tabrizi, a representative for the Washington-based law firm Venable LLP in Iran, announced that Tehran has decided to resume direct flights between the US and Iran.

The Iranian foreign ministry denied later that statement. “This is not true,” Iranian foreign ministry Spokesman Seyed Abbas Araqchi said in response to Javedani-Tabrizi’s statement, calling the claim “baseless.”

The United States and Iran broke diplomatic relations in April 1980, after Iranian students seized the US embassy in Tehran.

It now appears that a move to re-establish direct flights between the two countries has a good chance of succeeding, given the positive atmosphere that has led to hopes on both sides that ongoing issues between the two countries will soon be resolved.

Rouhani said on Sunday that his administration will fulfill its commitment to improve Iran’s foreign relations and meeting public demands.

“The Administration of Prudence and Hope will fulfill the people’s demands within the framework of the policies of the [Supreme] Leader, and is committed to its obligations to the people and [its promise] to bring about changes in [Iran’s] foreign relations, which is a national demand,” the website of Iranian satellite channel Press TV quoted Rouhani as saying.

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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