Last updated: 10 October, 2011

IATA halts Iran Air from using payment service

Iran’s national airline, Iran Air, Monday blasted the International Air Transport Association for suspending its ticket payment transactions due to US-imposed sanctions.

IATA “is not obliged to implement US laws and sanctions,” Iran Air’s chief executive, Farhad Parvaresh, said, according to ISNA news agency.

“I have talked to the IATA secretary general and have written a letter to him in protest,” he said.

IATA said Monday it had suspended the processing of Iran Air ticket payments because of the US sanctions, which target financial transactions by specific Iranian organisations including Iran Air.

“The ramifications of not complying with this would have wider effects on the industry,” a Geneva-based spokesman for the association, Chris Goater, told AFP.

Iran Air’s chief was quoted by ISNA as saying: “We have informed IATA that its actions are in violation of international laws and the IATA articles of association, and are officially requesting that the decision not be implemented.”

Parvaresh noted that IATA was funded by its member airlines and that it was bound by its statute to support them.

“America, under the pretext of the sanctions issue, has pressured IATA to stop services that are within our rights. This is while we pay IATA membership fees and all its international members use its services,” he said.

The United States has imposed unilateral sanctions on Iran in a bid to pressure the Islamic republic to halt its nuclear programme.

Washington fears Iran is seeking to build an atomic arsenal under cover of developing civilian nuclear energy. Tehran strongly denies that.

Four rounds of UN sanctions have also been levelled at Iran over the issue, though none target Iran Air.

Iran Air serves 35 international destinations in Asia and Europe. In July 2010, the European Union banned most of the airline’s planes from its airspace for safety reasons.