FAA issues emergency restriction for Persian Gulf airspace after Iran missile strike

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on Tuesday issued an emergency restriction for Persian Gulf airspace after Iran fired more than a dozen missiles at two military bases in Iraq housing U.S. troops. 

“All flight operations in the overwater area of the Tehran flight information region (FIR) (OIIX) above the Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman only are prohibited until further notice due to heightened military activities and increased political tensions in the region, which present an inadvertent risk to U.S. civil aviation operations and potential for miscalculation or mis-identification,” the FAA said in the restriction.

The FAA pointed to the recent escalation in tensions between Washington and Tehran as well as Iran’s shooting down of an unmanned U.S. drone in June while it was above the Gulf of Oman.

The emergency restriction applies to all U.S. air carriers and commercial operators and all operators of other aircraft registered in the U.S.

The order comes as tensions skyrocket between Washington and Tehran after a U.S. drone strike killed top Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani, who directed the country’s international network of proxy forces. 

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei vowed “harsh retaliation” over the killing of Soleimani, who was known to be a close associate of the Iranian leader. The Pentagon confirmed Tuesday that Iran launched more than a dozen missiles against two Iraqi bases housing U.S. forces.