US Warplanes Harassed Iran Airliner in Lebanese, Not Syrian Airspace - Report
By Staff, Agencies
American F-15 warplanes involved in the harassment of an Iranian passenger plane approaching the Beirut airport were not ‘on a routine air mission,’ according to a report that dismissed a claim otherwise made by a US military official.
The Nournews agency on Friday cited an unnamed source familiar with the matter that contrary to the remarks made by CENTCOM’s spokesman, Bill Urban, the US jets “intercepted the Iranian plane after violating Lebanon’s airspace” and were not on “a routine air mission” when they flew close to the Mahan Air plane.
The source added that the F-15s harassed the Iranian plane in Lebanon’s sky when it was dropping its altitude to approach the Beirut airport.
On Thursday night, US warplanes operating illegally in Syria conducted some “dangerous” maneuvering close to the Mahan Air flight in an act of air piracy.
The American aircraft ignored several warnings by the Iranian pilot about the urgency to observe the distance but they continued the maneuver, the source said.
The Mahan Air Flight 1152 had taken off from Tehran and was en route to the Lebanese capital when the incident happened.
CENTCOM claimed that a single F-15 had made a “visual inspection” of the Iranian airliner “in accordance with international standards... to ensure the safety of coalition personnel” at the military base in Syria’s al-Tanf.
It added that the F-15 conducted “a standard visual inspection of a Mahan Air passenger airliner at a safe distance of approximately 1,000 meters.”
Meanwhile, the adviser to Iran’s parliament speaker on international affairs, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, said on Friday that severe consequences await the US military’s act of provocation.
“The harassment of an Iranian passenger plane by American fighter jets once again proved that the presence of foreigners in the region is a serious threat to peace and security,” he said in a post on his Twitter account.
He added that likewise the Zionists cannot carry out a provocative act and “immediately say that we were not involved.”