Sunday, April 8, 2007

Iran Snubs Iraqi Leader

Iran refused to allow the Iraqi prime minister to fly across its airspace as he was flying to Tokyo. Nouri Al Maliki arrived in Tokyo this morning half-a-day late. After Iran refused to allow his plane to fly over its airspace, the plane was diverted to Dubai where Al Maliki stayed in the airport for more than three hours while the aircraft was refueled and a new flight plan was filed.

The refusal to allow Iraq’s leader to cross Iran in his government plane was a major snub for Al Maliki. Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Mohammad Hosseini told reporters today that the plane did not have prior authorization to fly across the country.

Al Maliki is in Japan to finalize a $700 million loan to repair and upgrade the Iraqi energy industry. The project calls for construction of oil pipelines and oil facilities in Basra to stabilize and expand Iraq’s oil export capabilities.

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