Iran claims US fighter jets ‘endangered’ Mahan Air passenger plane

Iran claims US fighter jets ‘endangered’ Mahan Air passenger plane
Iranian media claims that US Air Force fighter jets ‘unsafely intercepted’ Iran’s Mahan Air passenger aircraft en route from Tehran to Beirut, causing ‘injuries’ to several passengers. Earlier Iranian officials blamed the incident, that took place over Syria, on Israeli military aircraft.

Mahan Air Flight 1152 was in Syrian airspace over the At-Tanf border crossing with Iraq when it was intercepted by two F-15 fighters The approaching jets forced it to rapidly change course and altitude, resulting in several injuries among the passengers, the airline’s representatives said.

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Initial reports from eyewitnesses on board spoke of Israeli planes, and were repeated by international media outlets. The captain of Flight 1152 later told the Iranian news agency Fars that the pilots had identified themselves as US Air Force during the radio contact.

Iran’s Ambassador to the UN Majid Takht-Ravanchi had informed Secretary-General Antonio Guterres of the incident, and warned that “the Islamic Republic of Iran will take the United States responsible” if any harm befalls the plane on the way back to Tehran, according to the Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Seyed Abbas Mousavi.

By Thursday evening the plane had returned to Tehran safely, but at least three passengers on board were injured in the incident.

The intercept took place near the At-Tanf border crossing with Iraq, according to Syria’s SANA news agency. The US has established a military base in the area.

Mahan Air is a privately owned Iranian civilian carrier. It was placed on the US sanctions list against “proliferators of weapons of mass destruction and their supporters” in December 2019, for transporting troops and equipment for the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC).