Iran blocks Merkel's flight en route to India
Iran has not said why it denied German Chancellor Merkel's plane entry to Iranian airspace, although relations between the two have deteriorated over Iran's nuclear program and EU sanctions.
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"Coordination problems" delayed German Chancellor Angela Merkel's arrival in India for a trade visit when Iran refused her plane entry into Iranian airspace for two hours while it was en route to India (see route).
The plane was forced to wait over Turkey until it eventually received permission to pass through Iran, which has not given a reason for the refusal.
The Iranian ambassador to Germany was summoned to the German foreign ministry to explain his country's "disrespect towards Germany which we cannot accept," said German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle, German newspaper Der Spiegel reports.
German-Iranian relations have been tense for the past few years because of German criticism of Iran's nuclear program, and recent events have upped the tension. In April, Germany abandoned its opposition to European Union sanctions on an Iranian bank based in Hamburg that was a "financial lifeline" to the country's nuclear program, and in October 2010, Iran detained two German journalists, holding them until this February.
Through this, the countries trade relations have remained strong. In 2010, Germany was the third-largest exporter to Iran with total exports worth $5.5 billion. However, some German companies – including Siemens and ThyssenKrupp – have stopped doing business with Iran, Der Spiegel reports.