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Iran Denies Jet Fuel Crisis, Urges Citizens to Conserve Energy

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei (file photo)

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei (file photo)

The European Union says it has banned most of Iran Air's planes from flying in its airspace Tuesday because of safety concerns.

An EU spokeswoman says no other factors influenced the decision. The 27-member bloc says it is blacklisting Iran Air's Boeing 727s, 747s and Airbus A320s in response to an EU safety audit of the aircraft. The blacklisted planes represent two-thirds of Iran Air's fleet.

Iran Air has had trouble maintaining its aging Boeing jets purchased in the 1970s due to a three-decade U.S. ban on selling spare aircraft parts to the Islamic state.

Meanwhile, Iran is denying claims by some Iranian officials that Iranian aircraft have been denied fuel in Germany, Britain and the United Arab Emirates.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said Iranian planes continue to be refueled around the world. He said reports that some airports are not providing such fuel are part of a "psychological war" against Iran.

On Monday, a top Iranian airline official said airports in Britain, Germany and the UAE refused to refuel Iranian planes. Mehdi Aliyari linked the issue to the U.S. passage of unilateral sanctions against Iran last week.

Officials in Britain, Germany and the UAE said authorities have not imposed any bans on the fueling of Iranian aircraft.

In a sign that new sanctions against Iran may be having an effect, Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei urged his citizens Tuesday to conserve energy and electricity, and to cut back on consumption of imported consumer goods.

U.S. president Barack Obama signed a law last week imposing the toughest ever U.S. sanctions on Iran. The law penalizes companies that sell Iran refined petroleum products like gasoline and jet fuel.

Mr. Obama said the sanctions are aimed at hurting Iran's ability to continue its nuclear program. The U.S. and its allies accuse Iran of secretly trying to build atomic weapons. Iran says its nuclear program is peaceful.