EghtesadOnline: The Iranian Mission to the United Nations said Tehran will send a note of protest to the world body’s Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and the UN Security Council over the threatening move by a US fighter jet against an Iranian airliner over Syrian airspace.
Foreign Ministry Spokesman Abbas Mousavi also said, “We are investigating the details of the incident and after getting full information, we will take necessary legal and political measures,” ISNA reported.
Iran Civil Aviation Organization said it has lodged a complaint with the International Civil Aviation Organization, calling for the global body’s immediate response to the incident.
The US fighter jet came dangerously close to a Mahan Air passenger plane over Syrian airspace late on Thursday.
Several passengers on the airliner were injured after the pilot suddenly changed altitude to avoid collision with the US fighter.
The Iranian plane was heading from Tehran to Beirut when the pilot made the safety maneuver.
Tensions have spiked between Tehran and Washington since 2018 when US President Donald Trump exited Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal with six powers and reimposed sanctions that have severely affected Iran’s economy.
IRIB News quoted a passenger describing how his head hit the roof of the plane during the sudden shift in altitude and video showed an elderly passenger sprawled on the floor.
“All the passengers left the plane, some with minor injuries,” the head of the Beirut airport told Reuters.
The plane arrived back in Tehran in the early hours of Friday, Fars News Agency reported.
The US military’s Central Command, which oversees American troops in the region, said an F-15 aircraft was conducting a visual inspection of the Iranian aircraft when it passed near the Al-Tanf garrison in Syria where US forces are present, Reuters reported.
Captain Bill Urban, the senior Central Command spokesman, said the F-15 “conducted a standard visual inspection of a Mahan Air passenger airliner at a safe distance of about 1,000 meters from the airliner this evening”.
“The visual inspection occurred to ensure the safety of coalition personnel at Al-Tanf garrison,” Urban said. “Once the F-15 pilot identified the aircraft as a Mahan Air passenger plane, the F-15 safely opened distance from the aircraft.”
Urban claimed that the intercept was carried out in accordance with international standards.
The pilot of the passenger plane contacted the jet pilots to warn them to keep a safe distance and they identified themselves as American.
The United States imposed sanctions on Mahan Air in 2011, claiming it provided financial and other support to Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps.