Middle East tension rises over possible Iranian retaliation

German airliner Lufthansa says it has suspended operations to Tehran.

BERLIN/DUBAI (Reuters): German airline Lufthansa say it has suspended flights to Tehran due to the situation in the Middle East, which is on alert for possible Iranian retaliation for a suspected Israeli air strike on Iran’s embassy in Syria.

An Iranian news agency briefly stoked tensions when it published an Arabic report on social media platform X saying all airspace over Tehran had been closed for military drills. The agency then removed the report and denied it had issued such news.

Countries in the region and the United States have been on high alert and preparing for a possible attack by Iran since April 1 when Israeli warplanes were suspected of bombing the Iranian embassy compound in Syria.

Lufthansa said it suspended flights to and from Tehran from April 6 until probably April 11.

“We are constantly monitoring the situation in the Middle East and are in close contact with the authorities. The safety of our guests and crew members is Lufthansa’s top priority,” a spokesperson for the company told Reuters.

Lufthansa and its subsidiary Austrian Airlines are the only two Western carriers operating international flights into Tehran, which is mostly served by Turkish and Middle Eastern airlines.

Austrian Airlines, which is owned by Lufthansa and runs a direct Vienna-Tehran service six times a week, was still scheduled to operate its flight into Tehran on Thursday, according to its website.

There was no immediate word from other international airlines that fly to Tehran.

Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said that Israel “must be punished and it shall be” for the Damascus strike that killed seven Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps members.

Among them was Mohammad Reza Zahedi, a senior commander in the Quds Force, an elite overseas unit of the Revolutionary Guards.

Israel, which launched a war in the Gaza Strip six months ago against Iran-backed Hamas, has not confirmed it was behind the strike on Damascus, but the Pentagon has said it was.

Comments are closed.