First Iraq-Iran passenger flight in 25 years arrives in Tehran

Monday, November 7, 2005

Tehran — The first Iraq-Iran passenger flight since war broke out between the two nations 25 years ago, has arrived safely in Tehran. The plane left Baghdad International Airport with 65 passengers and touched down in the Iranian capital a few hours later. It was an historic event, marking the end of a quarter-century of hostilities during which all flights from and to Iran were suspended by the former Ba'athist regime.

A spokesperson for the Iranian civil aviation authority, Reza Jafarzadeh, told Agence France Presse that there were plans to resume regular commercial flights from Baghdad to Tehran on November 16, although Iran would not consider flying its own aircraft to Iraq until the security situation was resolved.

Iran's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told reporters that the "protection of Iraq's territorial integrity, independence and might is of special significance to Iran."

The United States and Britain have repeatedly accused Iran of allowing militants to cross its border to help Iraq's insurgents fight the US occupation. Earlier today, Major-General Jim Dutton, a British soldier commanding a multinational force in Basra, gave a press conference in Washington during which he claimed that insurgents were getting the technology to create increasingly sophisticated bombs from across the border.