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Russian Pilots told to leave Iran

Posted on Mon, 15 Mar 2010 17:00:00 GMT
Taban Tu-154Russian commercial pilots working in Iran have been given two months to leave the country. The process gained momentum after a Russian-made aircraft belonging to the Taban Air, caught fire as it landed in Northeastern Iran, injuring more than 40 people as a consequence. The pilots on-board were Russian.

"Upon an order from the president (Mahmoud Ahmadinejad), the Road and Transport Ministry has set a two-month deadline, upon the expiry of which all Russian pilots will have to leave the country..." Transport Minister Hamid Behbahani was quoted as saying.

One of the main reasons behind the decision was explained to be that, “Iran already possesses plenty of professional and specialist pilots, henceforth there is no need to bring pilots from abroad”.

Another reason was told to be the poor safety records of Russian-made aircraft with Russian pilots, which is not completely untrue. Russian commercial aircraft are famous with their bad safety records, and the string of crashes in the last decade involving Russian aircraft in Iran only, furthers this fame.

The safety records of the Russian pilots and airplanes might seem as a legitimate reason enough, but more people seem to think that the decision has more to do with politics than it has with safety.

Iran officials aren't really secretive about their frustration with the Russian government's continuous delays supplying Iran with the advanced S-300 missile defense system. The timing between Russia saying the S-300 will hit further delays and that it will back further sanctions on Iran (regarding the nuclear program), and Iran giving Russian pilots two months to leave the country, only reinforces theses claims.

Although the retaliation may seem rather “small” and ineffective, it is a proof that Iran is taking a more aggressive action against Russia, their biggest trading partner because of the sanctions on Iran.

It is not known how many Russians are working as pilots for Iranian carriers.

This aviation article was submitted by resident aviation news editor Yigit A. Coskun with additional credits to source: Reuters.

Taban Air Tu-154

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Ian Stephens

About Ian Stephens

Ian Stephens is a flight simulation enthusiast also with a keen interest in aviation and technology.  Ian spends a lot of his time experimenting with various simulator packages but has a love for Microsoft Flight Simulator X because of the huge selection of add-ons available.  However, Ian also has copies of Prepar3D and X-Plane installed. 

Ian has been writing for Fly Away Simulation for over 9 years.  Should you wish, you can contact Ian via email at


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