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Wed 19 May 2004 04:00 AM

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Nothing happening at Tehran

Tehran’s new international airport, which the army shut down on its first day of operations, looks no closer to being re-opened.

Tehran’s new international airport looks no closer to being re-opened. The new Imam Khomeini International Airport (IKIA) opened on May 8th, but it was shut down the same day by the Revolutionary Guard, which parked armed vehicles on the runway.

The armed forces’ actions were seemingly a response to the fact that a Turkish-Austrian consortium, TAV, was to operate the airport rather than Iranians. Security reasons were cited for the closure, but many are attributing the shut down to the on-going power struggle between conservatives and reformists in the Iran.

Flights to Tehran are still landing at the old Mehrabad Airport, and the government is investigating the shutdown of IKIA. However, when it will re-open is still far from clear. “It will be operational in the near future, but we don’t know when,” says H. A. Shahbazilar, deputy, aeronautical & international affairs, Civil Aviation Organisation, Iran.

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