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Minister says Iran's Imam Khomeini International Airport to open soon

Tehran, July 4, IRNA -- Minister of Road and Transportation said here Sunday that the main issues regarding the opening of the Imam Khomeini International Airport (IKIA) have been all resolved and the authorization to open the airport will be soon be announced to the ministry.

photo: ISNA

Kkorram who was at the Majlis to present a briefing to the parliament's development commission told reporters the ministry has two to three weeks to convey its itinerary to International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) after which the organization has to confirm the measures proposed for the opening of the airport.

On another issue, he added that the incident on Zahedan-Bam highway, which led to scores of people killed and injured last week, did not happen on the road and it took place at a police check point.

He said committee from the ministry has been dispatched to the area to probe the incident and will review the incident and present a report to the president.

The unfortunate accident was not within to the ministry's domain, responsibilities Korram said adding "the road is thoroughly equipped with all the safety nd maintenance standards and its surface layer is in good condition."

Iran's armed forces closed down IKIA on May 8, citing security concerns, just after it was officially inaugurated with the landing of a foreign aircraft.

The forces have stressed that the airport will remain closed as long as 'security requirements' for carrying out flights from it are not met.

Brigadier Ali Reza Afshar, deputy chief for cultural and defense propagation affairs of the armed forces, has said national flag carrier Iran Air's commissioning of the airport's operation to foreign contractors was the problem.

IKIA's Terminal 1, located in the middle of an uninhabited land about 45 kilometers (30 miles) south of the capital, was built at a cost of 350 million dollars. It can receive 2.5 million international and four million domestic passengers a year.

Officials, at the time the airport was completed, said that it will eventually be able to handle 40 million passengers a year, making Tehran a regional transport hub.

President Mohammad Khatami inaugurated Terminal 1 on February 1-- the 25th anniversary of the founding of the Islamic Republic marked by the return of Imam Khomeini from exile.

It was to start handling international flights two months later, that is, by end of March.

Iran Air had commissioned the operation of the airport to a Turkish-Austrian consortium, but the armed forces say this is jeopardizing the country's 'security' as well as 'dignity'.

... Payvand News - 7/5/04 ... --

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