UNITED NATIONS (Dispatches) — Iran is urging the United Nations to hold the United States accountable for the harassment of an Iranian passenger plane by two U.S. fighter jets in the skies over Syria last month, which it called an "unlawful” and an "adventuristic act.”
Iran’s UN ambassador, Majid Takht Ravanchi, said in identical letters to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and the UN Security Council circulated Friday that Iran "expresses its strongest objections against this violation of international law and will pursue the issue through relevant international bodies.”
Ravanchi said a Mahan Airlines Airbus A310 en route from Tehran to Beirut on July 23 "was aggressively and unexpectedly intercepted” by two U.S. F-15 fighter jets while traveling through internationally specified air corridors in Syria’s airspace.
"In reaction to the offensive and hazardous maneuverings of the United States fighter jets and in order to save the civil aircraft and passengers’ lives, the airliner had to change altitude abruptly, causing injuries to the passengers onboard,” the ambassador said.
The Iranian ambassador said that in line with provisions of the Convention on International Civil Aviation, Iran’s civil aviation organization contacted Syrian authorities and called for "a prompt and accurate investigation of the incident.” He said Iranian authorities also launched an investigation after the plane returned from Beirut.
The results of both investigations will be released "after the revision and finalization of
by both teams, Ravanchi said.
"It is obvious that the act by the United States fighter jets is a flagrant violation of the aviation security and freedom of civil aviation reflected in the 1944 Chicago Convention on International Civil Aviation and its relevant annexes as well as an infringement of the 1971 Montreal Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Civil Aviation,” he said.
Ravanchi said: "It is incumbent upon the United Nations to reject such an unlawful and yet adventuristic act and hold the United States accountable for this irresponsible behavior.”
Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani has denounced the harassment as an act of "aerial terrorism,” calling on the UN Security Council, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and regional states to break their silence on Washington’s "dangerous mischievous acts.”
The incident has been compared to the U.S. downing of Iran Air Airbus A300B2 over the Persian Gulf on July 3, 1988, which killed 290 people.
U.S. Central Command officials have said the American warplanes had "conducted a standard visual inspection” of the Iranian plane to ensure the safety of U.S. troops in Al-Tanf in Syria as the plane was flying over that area.
Iran has dismissed the claim as "ridiculous”, with Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi saying "the presence of American forces in Syria is illegal, and the air missions of their jet fighters are also illegal”.
"More importantly, no one has allowed the United States to inspect passenger planes over the skies with its military jets. Such an act is both illegal and dangerous, playing with the lives of innocent people, especially since, contrary to the claims made, the safe distance has not been observed at all,” he said recently.
The spokesman warned against any new adventurism by the U.S. or the occupying regime of Israel in the region, saying "stability and security in the West Asian region should not be used as a toy in the U.S. election campaign”.
The air piracy comes in the wake of other U.S. provocations and terrorist acts which have escalated after President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew from an international nuclear deal with Tehran over two years ago.
In the time since, there have been several incidents, including the U.S. assassination of Iran’s top commander General Qassem Soleimani in a drone strike in Baghdad.
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