ANKARA - Iran will take legal action if Washington tries to stop newly acquired Iranian passenger planes flying international routes, the head of the country's aviation authority said on Tuesday.
Iran's Mahan Air, blacklisted by Washington, bought eight second-hand Airbus A340s and one Airbus A321 in May in defiance of US sanctions. Iran's semi-official Fars news agency reported last week that the planes would be used on international routes.
The US Treasury department said last month that Mahan Air had a "blockable interest" in the planes, meaning they could be subject to an asset freeze, raising the possibility that Washington may attempt to have them seized at airports outside Iran.
"As long as ... a disruption has not taken place, we cannot make a definite assertion. But if it happens, Iran will take legal action," said Alireza Jahangirian, head of Iran's Civil Aviation Organization, according to the Iranian Students' News Agency (ISNA).
"America does not have the right to stop our planes on international trips ... Under international laws, it is impossible to seize the new Iranian aircraft."