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Saudi Arabia suspends Mahan Air over ‘safety’

5 April 2016 9:07


Saudi Arabia has withdrawn licenses given to Iran’s Mahan Air to land in the Persian Gulf kingdom or fly in its airspace over ‘safety’ claims.

Saudi Arabia’s General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) said Monday that Mahan Air was banned due to violations of local safety rules.

The GACA said in a statement that several violations related to airline safety had been committed by Mahan Air, “prompting the suspension of licenses granted to the company.”

“This decision comes in the context of the GACA (regarding) the safety of passengers and to preserve their lives,” Reuters reported.

Trade between Iran and Saudi Arabia has mostly been small and each year only Iranian pilgrims travel to the kingdom for the hajj pilgrimage.

Saudi Arabia severed diplomatic relations with Iran on January 3 following demonstrations held in front of the Saudi embassy in Tehran and its consulate in the northeastern city of Mashhad by angry protesters censuring the Al Saud family for the execution of prominent Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr in Riyadh on January 2.

Nimr’s execution caused international outrage and sparked anti-Saudi demonstrations in many countries.

Several countries, including Pakistan, Russia and China, have voiced readiness to mediate between Iran and Saudi Arabia to ease up their tensions.

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