Iran has not officially notified Russian airlines that their pilots working in the Islamic Republic should leave the country, a spokesman for the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Thursday.
Last week, Iranian Transport Minister Hamid Behbahani said Russian commercial pilots hired to Iranian airlines have to leave the country within two months. He said Iran has many professional pilots and there was "no need to bring in pilots from abroad."
"We are aware of the statement, however, Russian airline companies operating in Iran, have not been officially notified to leave the country in a certain period of time," Andrei Nesterenko said.
The high-ranking Russian diplomat also said that "there were no complaints at all in regard to Russian pilots."
Iran has suffered a number of air crashes in recent years, many involving Russian-made aircraft.
A Russian-made Tu-154 airliner piloted by a Russian caught fire as it landed in northeastern Iran in late January, leaving more than 40 people injured. It was owned by Iran's Taban Airlines
In 2009, a Tu-154 plane of Iran's Caspian Airlines crashed in northern Iran en route from Tehran to Yerevan, killing all 153 passengers and 15 crew on board.
The move may also be seen as an indication of Tehran's growing frustration at Moscow's support for new sanctions against Iran over its controversial nuclear program. However, Nesterenko denied any political motives involved in this move.
MOSCOW, March 11 (RIA Novosti)