09:13 GMT30 October 2020
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    BRUSSELS (Sputnik) - The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) recommended on Friday against conducting flights below 25,000 feet over Iran in light of heightened regional tensions and the Ukrainian plane crash near Tehran.

    "Following a meeting of the integrated EU aviation security risk assessment group in Brussels, EASA is now advising against flights below 25,000 feet over Iran in addition to its previous recommendation to avoid overflights of Iraq", EASA said in a statement.

    It added that the "recommendation is made on the basis of available information on recent events in the region, including the crash of a Ukrainian passenger aircraft near Tehran on 8 January".

    The agency noted that it would continue assessing the situation and working on steps to ensure the safety of aviation in the region.

    Tensions in the Middle East significantly escalated after a drone attack in Baghdad, ordered by US President Donald Trump, killed Iranian Quds Force commander Qasem Soleimani last week. Iran retaliated on Wednesday by firing missiles at the Iraqi bases hosting American forces.

    Shortly after Iran’s strike, a Kiev-bound Boeing 737-800 crashed near Tehran’s Imam Khomeini International Airport minutes after takeoff. All 176 people on board were killed, including citizens of Iran, Ukraine, Afghanistan, Canada, Germany, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.

    While Tehran said, citing preliminary information, that the crash had been caused by a plane engine malfuntion, Trump expressed his doubts about that being the case. UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that the Ukrainian passenger plane could have been unintentionally shot down by an Iranian surface-to-air missile. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau similarly claimed that multiple intelligence sources pointed to a strike by a missile.

    Tehran has dismissed the claims as a 'psychological warfare' against Iran.

    Tags:
    European Union, Ukraine, Iran, United States
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