U.S. sanctions are crippling Iran Airlines refueling operations, but Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad continues to sneer at Washington, saying that the United States will one day apologize and "beg" Teheran to resume diplomatic relations.
The Obama administration is too weak to damage Iran, according to Ahmadinejad, but the Washington Post reported that Congressional-spurred presidential sanctions have prevented refueling operations in Europe for Iran Air, the Islamic Republic’s national carrier.
In a reversal from his desire to “engage” Iran in diplomatic talks and gain favor with the Iranian public, President Obama last summer relented to public and Congressional pressure. His officials reached an agreement with several European oil companies six weeks ago to curtail investments in Iran.
British Petroleum, Q8 Oil of Britain and Royal Dutch Shell of Britain and Holland went beyond the agreement and canceled refueling contracts for Iran Air’s jet planes.
Unable to refuel in Amsterdam, London and Stockholm, Iran Air’s jets have to fly out of their way and refuel in Germany or Austria. However, these options may almost disappear once contracts between Total of France and OMV of Austria run out this year. In that case, Iran Air would have to cancel many flights, hemming in many of its 500,000 passengers a year.
Iran Air’s Amsterdam district manager, Mohammed Jalali, admitted to the Washington Post that the airline is “losing time, money and passengers.”
However, Teheran officials insist business is as usual. Minister of Economic Affairs and Finance Shamseddin Hosseini claimed on Monday, "It is possible that sanctions have caused some limitations in certain parts, but that would not stop international organizations from maintaining technical and regulatory cooperation with Iran.”