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.


Duterte ‘seriously considering’ cutting ties with Iceland over UN rights probe

Updated 16 July 2019
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Duterte ‘seriously considering’ cutting ties with Iceland over UN rights probe

  • Iceland spearheaded a resolution that asked the UN’s top human rights body to look into the Philippines' deadly anti-drug crackdown
  • Philippine police have killed more than 6,600 suspected drug dealers in sting operations since Duterte took office in 2016.

MANILA: The Philippine president is “seriously considering” cutting diplomatic ties with Iceland, which spearheaded a resolution that asked the UN’s top human rights body to look into the thousands of deaths of suspects under his anti-drug crackdown.
Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo told reporters late Monday that the Iceland-initiated resolution which was adopted by the UN Human Rights Council in a vote last week in Geneva showed “how the Western powers are scornful of our sovereign exercise of protecting our people from the scourge of prohibited drugs.”
Panelo says President Rodrigo Duterte “is seriously considering cutting diplomatic relations with Iceland” for initiating the “grotesquely one-sided, outrageously narrow, and maliciously partisan” resolution.
Human rights groups, however, have lauded the resolution as crucial to helping end the drug killings and bringing perpetrators to justice.
The Philippines’ highest-ranking lawmaker said on Monday a UN resolution to probe the country’s bloody war on drugs should be ignored, and its chief backer Iceland be investigated instead for human rights abuses in allowing abortion.
“They have more unborn babies that they have aborted or killed. There are more killings in abortion than the drug pushers who are fighting the police,” Senate President Vicente Sotto told ANC news channel.
The Nordic nation lacks moral grounds to lecture the Philippines on human rights, Sotto said. “So we should disregard that resolution.”
His remarks are the latest in a series of comments from lawmakers urging the government to not cooperate after the UN Human Rights Council on Thursday adopted Iceland’s resolution to investigate thousands of deaths under Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s anti-drugs campaign.
Police have killed more than 6,600 suspected drug dealers in sting operations since Duterte took office in 2016. Critics and rights group said authorities summarily execute suspects, which the police deny.
“The criminals can fight back, the babies cannot. What human rights are they talking about?” Sotto said, adding that drug dealers that fight back and destroy families lose their human rights.
His comments about abortion echoed those made by incoming Senator Imee Marcos, the daughter of late dictator Ferdinand Marcos.
Rights groups, which hailed the UN vote as a step toward accountability, point out that the bloody anti-narcotics campaign is marked by systematic cover-ups, planted evidence and impunity.
The president’s spokesman on Monday warned countries not to meddle with the state’s affairs.
“All incidents in the war on drugs are tallied, recorded. All they have to do is ask us, not to pre-judge us,” presidential spokesman Spokesman Panelo told a regular news conference. “It behoves them to render respect to a sovereign state.”
Duterte on Friday mocked Iceland as an ice-eating nation without understanding of his country’s problems.