British Airways, Air France suspend flights to and from Tehran

British Airways on Thursday said it would suspend its London to Tehran service. (AFP/File Photo)
Updated 24 August 2018
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British Airways, Air France suspend flights to and from Tehran

  • Airline said decision had nothing to do with Donald Trump's imposition of new sanctions on Iran
  • The airline said it was in discussions with partner airlines to offer customers rebooking options

LONDON: British Airways and Air France on Thursday said they would suspend flights to Tehran from next month for commercial reasons, as US sanctions against Iran start to bite.
"We are suspending our London to Tehran service as the operation is currently not commercially viable," BA said.
The last outbound flight to Tehran will be on Sept. 22, and the last inbound flight from Tehran will be on Sept. 23, it added.
The airline said the decision had nothing to do with US President Donald Trump's imposition of new sanctions on Iran, which has affected foreign businesses operating in the country, with many pulling out altogether.
Air France, which had run connections to the Iranian capital via its low-cost operator Joon, told AFP it would axe the route on Sept. 18, blaming "poor commercial viability."
The French carrier had already cut down on its Paris to Tehran connections from three a week to just one earlier this month.

Dutch carrier KLM, part of the same group as Air France, said last month that it was also suspending Tehran flights due to "negative results and financial outlook."
British Airways said it was in discussions with partner airlines to offer customers rebooking options, or would offer full refunds.

The Airlines are the latest European companies announcing they will halt services and projects in Iran after the US reimposed certain sanctions on Tehran this month. The sanctions also target any companies continuing to do business with Iran. In November, the US will reimpose canctions against Iran's energy sector.

Air France had resumed links to Tehran in April 2016 after the signing of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.
Lufthansa and Alitalia are among European companies still running flights to Iran despite the US announcement.
On Monday French oil giant Total announced that it had officially quit its multi-billion-dollar gas project in the country. German carmaker Daimler, Deutsche Telekom and Deutsche Bahn have also all pulled out.

Iran's top envoy to Britain said British Airways' decision to suspend flights to Tehran from September was regrettable.
"Considering the high demand ... the decision by the airliner is regrettable," Hamid Baeidinejad said on Twitter.


Ex-Trump lawyer Cohen providing info in Mueller probe

Updated 32 min 31 sec ago
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Ex-Trump lawyer Cohen providing info in Mueller probe

  • Trump’s longtime fixer-turned-foe could be a vital witness for prosecutors as they investigate whether Trump’s campaign coordinated with Russians
  • Cohen pleaded guilty in August to eight federal charges and said Trump directed him to arrange payments before the 2016 election to buy the silence of porn actress Stormy Daniels

WASHINGTON: President Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer claimed Thursday he is providing “critical information” as part special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 US election and possible coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign.
Michael Cohen, who pleaded guilty to campaign finance and other charges last month, said he is providing the information to prosecutors without a cooperation agreement.
Trump’s longtime fixer-turned-foe could be a vital witness for prosecutors as they investigate whether Trump’s campaign coordinated with Russians. For more than a decade, Cohen was Trump’s personal lawyer, and he was a key power player in the Trump Organization and a fixture in Trump’s political life.
Cohen pleaded guilty in August to eight federal charges and said Trump directed him to arrange payments before the 2016 election to buy the silence of porn actress Stormy Daniels and a former Playboy model who had both alleged they had affairs with Trump. It was the first time any Trump associate implicated Trump himself in a crime, though whether — or when — a president can be prosecuted remains a matter of legal dispute.
On Thursday night, Cohen tweeted: “Good for @MichaelCohen212 for providing critical information to the #MuellerInvestigation without a cooperation agreement. No one should question his integrity, veracity or loyalty to his family and country over @POTUS @realDonaldTrump.”
The tweet was deleted almost immediately and was later reposted by his attorney, Lanny Davis, who said he wrote the tweet for Cohen and asked him to tweet it because he has a “much larger following.” Davis said he was delayed posting the tweet on his own account, so Cohen tweeted it first.
ABC News reported earlier Thursday that Cohen has met several times — for several hours — with investigators from the special counsel’s office.
The television network, citing sources familiar with the matter, said he was questioned about Trump’s dealings with Russia, including whether members of the Trump campaign worked with Russians to try to influence the outcome of the election.
Davis had asserted last month that his client could tell the special counsel that Trump had prior knowledge of a June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower with a Russian lawyer, Trump’s son-in-law and Trump’s eldest son, who had been told in emails that it was part of a Russian government effort to help his father’s campaign. But Davis later walked back the assertions, saying he could not independently confirm the claims that Cohen witnessed Trump’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., telling his father about the Trump Tower meeting beforehand.
In the last two weeks, the special counsel secured the cooperation of Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort; signaled that he has obtained all the information he needs from former national security adviser Michael Flynn — who was also a government cooperator; and dispensed with the case of the campaign aide who triggered the Russia probe.
The president has continued a very public battle against the Mueller investigation, repeatedly calling it a politically motivated and “rigged witch hunt.” He has said he is going to declassify secret documents in the Russia investigation, an extraordinary move that he says will show that the investigation was tainted from the start by bias in the Justice Department and FBI.