Berlin, Jun 1: Iran today clarified the move to close its airspace for German Chancellor Angela Merkel's India-bound plane saying it was due to "technical problems", a day after Berlin termed it as unacceptable and summoned the Iranian envoy.
Merkel's plane was flying to India yesterday but had to circle over Turkey for about two hours before it was permitted to enter Iran's airspace.
“Merkel's plane, along with two other planes, was flying to India. Both planes flew over Iran but the plane carrying the Chancellor was not given permission because of problems in giving ‘call sign' to the air controllers by the pilots,” Iranian Ambassador to Germany, Alireza Sheikhattar, was quoted as saying by IRNA.
“Around 2:30 Tuesday morning, political director general in Germany's Ministry of Foreign Affairs contacted me and after my contact with Tehran, the problem was solved in 20 minutes and the plane entered Iran's airspace,” Sheikhattar said.
“If German officials had informed us earlier, we would have solved it sooner,” the Ambassador said. When her reaction was sought during a joint press conference with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in New Delhi yesterday, Merkel said, “I have arrived safely and that is what is important.”
However, she did not elaborate on the reasons behind such an unexpected incident, given that the first plane carrying her Cabinet colleagues for the same trip was allowed to go without any hassle. PTI