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Wed 12 May 2004 04:00 AM

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Army to re-open IKIA

Iran’s military has reportedly given the go-ahead for the re-opening of Tehran’s new airport. However, it will remain closed while officials investigate the army’s shutdown.

Iran’s military has reportedly given the go-ahead for the re-opening of Tehran’s new international airport. The army blocked the runway of the US$475 million Imam Khomeini International Airport (IKIA) on its first day of operation. However, IKIA will seemingly remain closed while government officials investigate the army’s actions.

"The [roads and transportation] minister wants a clarification of Saturday's events before he opens the airport for operation," the airport’s director Hossein Pirouzi told Reuters.

The Iranian Revolutionary Guard shut down the long-overdue airport on Saturday, after it had handled just one flight. Subsequent flights were diverted to Tehran’s old airport, Mehrabad, instead. The armed forces said they had security concerns about IKI because it was to be operated by the Turkish-led consortium TAV. TAV staff were subsequently ordered to leave the airport, and operations were handed over to Iran Air.

TAV says that it has been told to vacate the airport for two weeks while the dispute is clarified.

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