Thursday, 1 December 2011


Since a bunch of Iranian protesters have provoked international outrage by storming the UK Embassy in Tehran – ransacking offices and burning the Union flag – wasn't it heartening to see that until very recently our friends at Manston Airport were allowing Iranian passenger planes to refuel in Thanet? What a lovely gesture that was.

According to the Daily Mail, since Manston Airport is privately-owned by Infatril, the deal struck with Iran Air dodged international sanctions which were imposed due to fears that Iran is developing a nuclear weapon. In the diplomatic fallout to the Embassy raid, however, there are fresh calls by Foreign Secretary William Hague to impose tougher sanctions against Iran. These calls seem to be heeded now the EU is pursuing a similar tough line against Ahmedinijad and the Iranian regime, so in the midst of this ongoing and rather embarrassing situation, Manston Airport Chief Executive Charles Buchanan stopped allowing Iran Air to make refuelling stops, admitting on BBC News:

"As a commercial enterprise this was a profitable exercise for us but the sensitivities of dealing with Iran have changed."

It's easy to be wise after the event, isn't it? Let's just pray a new deal isn't struck which ends up being similarly at odds with the rest of the international community!


  1. Not quite as reported, Luke, and I think you will find that those at Manston were not breaking any laws.

    Clearly the Iranian aircraft had permission to enter British airspace, otherwise they would have had a Typhoon on each wing tip long before they reached our coast. As such, and under international aviation agreements, they would enjoy landing and refueling rights. It is not as if they were taking barrels of fuel back to Iran, only what they would use on their flight, and I would suggest that Iran has rather more oil than UK anyway.

    This was hardly santction busting and it is a bit mischievous to suggest otherwise.

  2. Economic sanction imposed by the US on Iran forbids companies and governments with economic ties with the US to trade with Iran.
    So presumably Infratil did not trade with the US otherwise it would have been breaching the sanctions.
    Not on your Nellie,close to home, US companies trade with Prestwich airport.