Bulgarian government jet denied access to Iranian airspace

SOFIA, Bulgaria - A Bulgarian government jet carrying Prime Minister Boiko Borisov to Saudi Arabia has been denied access to Iranian airspace, forcing him to fly over Iraq.

Bulgaria's state-run news agency BTA quoted Foreign Minister Ekaterina Zaharieva as telling reporters in Riyadh on Wednesday that despite having the necessary diplomatic permission to fly over Iran, the aircraft had been asked by Iranian authorities to leave its airspace.

Zaharieva, who is part of the official Bulgarian delegation, called Iran's act an "inexplicable last-moment refusal." She added that the plane had to return to Turkey to get permission to fly over Iraqi airspace.

The Bulgarian authorities have demanded an explanation from the Iranian authorities, Zaharieva said.

Borisov is the first Bulgarian prime minister to visit Saudi Arabia since the countries established diplomatic relations 20 years ago.

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