US issues fresh warning to airlines about using Iranian airspace

A view of the Iranian capital Tehran and its Milad Tower (L) on May 9, 2018. (File/AFP)
Updated 11 September 2018
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US issues fresh warning to airlines about using Iranian airspace

  • Tensions ramped up between Iran and the United States after President Donald Trump pulled out of a landmark nuclear deal with Iran
  • The US Department of State advises that its citizens do not travel to Iran due to the risk of arbitrary arrest and detention

WASHINGTON: The United States has issued a fresh warning to airlines to exercise caution when operating in Iran’s airspace, citing concerns over military activity including an unnamed US civil operator being intercepted by fighter jets in December 2017.
The updated guidance from the Federal Aviation Administration to US operators, issued on Sunday at the expiry of the prior year’s advisory, said there were also military activities emanating from or transiting through Iran’s airspace associated with the conflict in Syria.
Tensions ramped up between Iran and the United States after President Donald Trump pulled out of a landmark nuclear deal with Iran in May and reimposed sanctions on the Islamic Republic last month.
Flight Service Bureau, which provides safety information on airspace to airlines, said “without seeming alarmist,” the deteriorating relationship between the US and Iran must be taken into account when planning flights in Iran’s airspace.
“Although the reopening of Iraqi airspace in November last year has provided additional routing options ... there is no perfect route in the region, and operators must consider their preference for Iraq vs Iran,” the US based group said in an email to clients on Monday.
The US Department of State advises that its citizens do not travel to Iran due to the risk of arbitrary arrest and detention. Flight Service Bureau said that could present problems in the event of an unplanned landing in Iran for medical or technical reasons.
For Iraq, the US Department of State advises its citizens against travel to the country due to terrorism and armed conflict. The F.A.A.’s latest guidance on Iraq, issued in December 2017, prohibits US airlines in most cases from flying at an altitude lower than 26,000 feet due to the potential for fighting.


Maldives arrests ex-leader Yameen for money laundering

Updated 18 February 2019
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Maldives arrests ex-leader Yameen for money laundering

  • No comment from Yameen or his legal team yet
  • The court already froze the ex-president’s local bank accounts containing $6.5 million

MALÉ, Maldives: Maldivian authorities Monday ordered the arrest of former strongman president Abdulla Yameen over money laundering charges, officials said.
The arrest came after a court began a preliminary hearing into allegations that Yameen received nearly $1.5 million in illicit payments just before he lost his re-election bid in September.
“Prosecutors said that Yameen had allegedly attempted to bribe witnesses,” a court official said, adding that the former president would be taken to the Dhoonidhoo prison island near the capital.
Yameen, who came to power in 2013 and jailed many of his opponents or forced them into exile, had been summoned to the Criminal Court Sunday to formally receive his indictment.
During his five-year tenure, Yameen relied heavily on China for political and financial support as he came under criticism over his dismal human rights record.
The Indian Ocean archipelago nation of 340,000 Sunni Muslims is heavily in debt to China.
Authorities believe millions of dollars allegedly siphoned off by Yameen could be stashed abroad, and have said that talks are underway with foreign entities to repatriate any cash found.
The court has already frozen Yameen’s local bank accounts holding about $6.5 million, a decision the former leader has contested.
There was no immediate comment from Yameen or his legal team on the latest court order.