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EU aviation agency warns against flying over Iran 'until further notice'

Tehran admitted to shooting down the jet in error on Saturday [Getty]

Date of publication: 11 January, 2020

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Several airlines have already restricted flights over Iran and Iraq due to rising tensions in the region.
The European Union's air safety agency on Saturday advised airlines to avoid flying over Iran after Tehran admitted mistakenly shooting down a passenger jet, killing 176 people.

After days of rejecting increasing speculation and allegations by Western officials that its own troops had downed the plane with a surface-to-air missile, an Iranian Republican Guards Corps commander earlier on Saturday admitted a missile operator had fired upon the passenger jet in error.

The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) said it had re-evaluated the dangers to commercial airline operations in light of Tehran's admission.

"On the basis of all available information, the recommendation in the current security climate is that overflight of Iran at all altitudes should be avoided until further notice, as a precautionary measure," EASA said in a statement.

The existing advice not to fly over Iraq remains unchanged, EASA said.

A number of international airlines suspended flight routes over Iraqi and Iranian airspace after Tehran fired a volley of missiles at two Iraqi bases hosting US troops, just hours before mistakenly shooting down the Ukrainian passenger jet.

"This is a very dynamic situation and a new assessment will be made with the EU Commission and European Union member states early next week," the statement added.

Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has ordered his armed forces to address "shortcomings" so that such a disaster does not happen again.

There have been international calls for Iran to carry out a full, independent and transparent investigation into the crash.

Ukraine said on Saturday it would offer $8,300 in compensation to the families of its citizens who were killed in the crash.

President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said in a video address on Saturday that his government will also push Tehran to provide separate compensation to the victims' families.

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