Sanctions Take a Toll on Plane Safety in Iran
With lives at risk, many ask for airline exemption to embargo
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 14, 2012 9:00 AM CDT
Updated Jul 14, 2012 9:38 AM CDT

(Newser) – Iranian smugglers might be skilled at sneaking Apple gizmos into their heavily embargoed country, but unfortunately Iran's airline industry hasn't had such luck getting the parts it desperately needs, reports the New York Times. After 17 years of US sanctions, Iranian planes are getting so worn and run down that they are increasingly facing serious safety issues—in fact, most Iranian planes are forbidden from flying in Europe.

“Our planes are completely worn out,” says one pilot who has started a website and online petition against the airline sanctions. “In reality, each flight can be our last.” (He once made a landing without nose gear and became Iran's version of Chesley Sullenberger, notes the Times.) In general, Iranians usually seem to blame their own leaders for the sanctions rather than the United States, but they do blame America for the airline measures. “I support the pressure on our leaders,” says a 54-year-old homemaker. “But I don’t understand why the US wants to hurt us, normal people. Don’t we have the right to travel safely?”