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Arabic press review: Qatari airplane 'escaped Iranian missiles' in Tehran

Meanwhile, a Jordan court gives its first prison sentence to an Israeli, the UAE ups its exports to Iran and Algeria considers how to outlaw racism
Al-Arabiya reports that Qatar Airways flight QR491 escaped the fate of the Ukrainian airplane that was shot down by mistake near Tehran last week (AFP)

Qatari airplane 'narrowly escaped Iranian missiles'

A Qatar Airways airplane avoided being shot down over Tehran despite flying in the same path as the Ukrainian plane that was accidentally brought down by an Iranian missile on Friday, according to the Al-Arabiya website.

About two hours before the Ukrainian flight took off just after 6am, Qatar Airways flight QR491 flew from Tehran's Imam Khomeini International Airport to Doha without incident, the outlet reported.

On Saturday, the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) urged airlines to avoid Iran's airspace, following an earlier recommendation that airlines fly at least 25,000 feet or higher when flying over Iran.

Jordan jails Israeli in possession of drugs

A Jordanian court has handed down a four-month prison sentence to an Israeli citizen for illegally entering the kingdom with drugs in his possession several months ago, reports Jordanian newspaper Al-Ghad.

On Monday, the State Security Court also fined Konstantin Kotov, who has already served a couple of months in prison, 1,000 Jordanian dinars ($ 1,400), according to the paper. He is set to be released on 29 February.

Kotov had told the court that he entered Jordan because he was wanted by Israeli security forces for drug-related crimes, and had been trying to reach the Russian embassy in Amman to submit an asylum request. Jordanian security forces arrested him instead.

UAE exports to Iran 'significantly increased'

Emirati exports to Iran have significantly increased over the past year despite US sanctions that have led to a 90 percent decrease in South Korean exports to Iran, according to a report published by Al-Araby Al-Jadeed.

According to official data published by Seoul, South Korea has fallen to 14th place of countries exporting to Iran, the largest drop in ranking among the top 20 countries selling goods to Tehran, the paper reported.

China topped the list despite a 38.8 percent drop last year in its exports to Iran. Germany, Italy and the Netherlands also witnessed a sharp decline.

In contrast, the UAE’s exports to Iran increased by 16.8 percent over the past year, the report added. 

Last August, the governor of the Central Bank of Iran, Abdolnaser Hemmati, said that the UAE had withdrawn its economic pressure on Iran, describing the move as "good and positive".

According to Iranian sources, 70 to 80 percent of Iranian financial transfers are made through the UAE, and Iranian investments in the UAE amount to about $300bn, which comes second behind US investments in the country, according to the London-based newspaper.

Algeria to propose anti-racism law

Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune has ordered Prime Minister Abdelaziz Djerad to draft a law criminalising all racism, regionalism and hate speech in the country, according to Algerian newspaper El Khabar.

"This measure comes after a noticeable increase of hate speech and incitement to disorder, especially on social media, and in order to prevent those who exploit freedom and peaceful movement by raising slogans that threaten national cohesion," a source in the president's office told the paper.

* Arabic press review is a digest of reports that are not independently verified as accurate by Middle East Eye.