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Air France and British Airways end flights to Iran



Air France and British Airways announced on Thursday that they will halt flights to Tehran next month , citing low profitability as the US reimposes sanctions on Iran .Air France , which had run connections to the Iranian capital via its low – cost operator Joon , said it would axe the route on September 18 , blaming “ poor commercial viability ” .
The French carrier had already cut down on its Paris to Tehran connections from three a week to just one earlier this month , its communications service said .

British Airways also announced Thursday that it was scrapping its London to Tehran service as it was “ currently not commercially viable ” .

The last outbound flight to Tehran will be on September 22 , and the last inbound flight from Tehran will be on September 23 , the British flag carrier added .

British Airways said its decision was unrelated to US President Donald Trump ’ s imposition of new sanctions on Iran , which has prompted many foreign businesses to pull out of the country .

Dutch airline KLM — part of the same group as Air France — said last month that it was also suspending Tehran flights due to “ negative results and financial outlook ” .

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The airline said it was in discussions with partner airlines to offer customers rebooking options , or would offer full refunds .

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hailed the decision by British Airways , KLM and Air France to cease flights to Tehran .

“ That ’ s good. More should follow , more will follow , because Iran should not be rewarded for its aggression in the region , for its attempt to spread terrorism , ” Netanyahu told reporters in Lithuania ’ s capital Vilnius.

– European exodus from Iran –

Air France had resumed links to Tehran in April 2016 after the signing of a hard -fought deal between Iran and international powers offering sanctions relief in exchange for guarantees that the Islamic Republic would not pursue nuclear weapons .
Lufthansa and Alitalia are among European companies still running flights to Iran despite the US announcement .

The United States said in May that it was abandoning the 2015 nuclear deal and reimposing sanctions on Tehran in two phases in August and November .

The other parties to the nuclear deal — Britain , France , Germany , China and Russia — have vowed to stay in the accord , but their companies risk huge US penalties if they keep doing business in Iran .

French companies were among those most eager to seize business opportunities in the Islamic Republic following the 2015 deal .

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On Monday French oil giant Total announced that it had officially quit its multi – billion -dollar gas project in the country .

It was the latest in a string of major international companies to pull out , including German carmaker Daimler , Deutsche Telekom and Deutsche Bahn .

( AFP )