Special for Africa ExPress
Massimo A. Alberizzi and Monica A. Mistretta
Riccione, 4 July 2020
The flights of the Iran Air company that landed at the Federico Fellini airport in Rimini between the beginning of February and the first days of March, in the middle of the Covid crisis, were not technical stopovers for refueling, as declared to Africa ExPress by Leonardo Corbucci, CEO of Airiminum 2014, the company that manages the international airport.
The denial comes from an Iranian source that reports to Africa ExPress the names of the hotels in Rimini and Riccione where the Iranian company, after having landed pilots, hostesses and personal security, transferred three times a week the entire crew using the shuttle services of Shuttle Italy Aeroport.
The names of the hotels in Riccione where – according to the information we have gathered from the Iranian source – the crews of the Asian airline stayed are the luxurious Mon Cheri, Maestrale, Lungomare (all three of the Leardini Group) and Roma.
The information arrives just when Iran Air flights have resumed regular stopovers in Milan Malpensa. On July 1, the company’s flights, which have been under U.S. sanctions since 2018, should have resumed on Rimini as well, as announced in early June by Leonardo Corbucci himself, but so far this has not happened.
In Iran, Covid continues to claim victims: yesterday, according to statements by Sima Sadat Lari, spokesman for the Iranian Ministry of Health, 2,566 new cases were registered in the country, 154 deaths. As of June 30, the province of Rimini with its 2,101 positives and 252 victims was still one of the three main Italian hotbeds, along with Codogno and Bergamo. It is not clear why, at a time when so many flight restrictions are still in force in Europe, those from Tehran have resumed not only in Italy, but in all major European capitals and cities, including London.
Iran Air has long been under US sanctions for its role in arms trafficking. In these hours the tension between Tehran and Western countries is sky-high: the Kuwaiti newspaper Al Jarida attributed to an Israeli cyber attack the explosion that hit the nuclear plant in Natanz at dawn on Thursday.
The resumption of flights over Rimini, in addition to the health risks, would lead us into a quagmire of acts and retaliation from which any country would prefer to stay out unless it really has a lot to gain. It is no coincidence that in recent days the hypothesis that the DC9 Itavia aircraft shot down on Ustica on 27 June 1980 was hit by Israeli fighters because it was carrying uranium rods has resumed circulation on Sky TG24. The reportage we propose below – courtesy of Sky – is by Manuela Iatì.
Massimo A. Alberizzi – email@example.com – twitter @malberizzi
Monica A. Mistretta – firstname.lastname@example.org – twitter @monicamistretta