The Central American Military Command announced on Friday that, a US F15 escorted an Iranian passenger plane from a distance of one kilometer over Syrian territory, as required International standards”.
“The F15 fighter was on a routine flight in the coalition forces’ area of operation in the al Tanf garrison in Syria, and on Thursday evening, it conducted a routine visual inspection of a Mahan Air passenger plane,” the US Central Command said in a statement posted via twitter.
The Iranian at a safe distance of about a thousand meters from the plane.
The statement added that “after identifying the plane as a passenger plane, the fighter moved to a safe distance, according to international standards”.
On Thursday, the (semi-official) Iranian news agency, Fars, said that an Israeli Air Force fighter had intercepted an Iranian Mahan plane, flying to Beirut, over Syrian aerospace.
This comes, before the official Iranian news agency, “IRNA”, quoted the commander of the “Mahan” plane as saying that “the two fighters that intercepted the plane in Syrian aerospace were American”.
The agency reported that the commander of the “Mahan” plane, said that “during his call with the pilots of the two fighters, to announce the warning in order to adhere to the necessary safety distance, they announced that they are Americans”.
The Iranian news agency stressed, “In the event that the two fighters are affiliated with the United States, it is expected that in the first step, diplomatic and legal measures will be taken to announce the official protest by Tehran”.
The Iranian state television announced Thursday night on its website that an Israeli fighter intercepted an Iranian passenger plane flying in the Syrian aerospace on a flight from Tehran to Beirut, where it landed without problems.
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said that two American fighters approached the plane over Syria, explaining that an investigation is underway into the details of the accident, and the necessary political and legal measures will be taken after completing the information.
“If there is any misfortune in the plane on the way back, Iran will hold the United States responsible for that,” Mousavi added, warning.
He added that the incident had been reported to the United Nations, as well as to the Swiss ambassador to Tehran, who represents the interests of the United States in Iran in the absence of diplomatic relations between the two countries.
In Beirut, a Lebanese security source told AFP that “the Iranian plane that was intercepted over Syrian aerospace landed at Beirut airport”.
He pointed to “four minor injuries among the passengers,” explaining that the plane was carrying “Iranian and Lebanese passengers”.
The Syrian official media had stated since last night that the intercepted fighters were American.
Syrian state television and Syrian official news agency SANA quoted civil aviation sources as saying that “fighter believed to belong to the US-led coalition intercepted an Iranian civilian plane in Syrian aerospace in al Tanf area, forcing the pilot to drop sharply, which resulted in minor injuries to the passengers”.
For its part, Iran lodged a formal protest Friday with the United Nations and the International Civil Aviation Organization against “the explicit violation of international law” after two US “fighters” approached, according to Tehran, a dangerous degree to an Iranian passenger plane in Syrian airspace.
Thursday’s incident marks a new episode in a series of intense tensions between the United States and Iran that reached a new level following the unilateral withdrawal of the administration of President Donald Trump in 2018 from the international agreement on Iran’s nuclear program and the re-imposition of sanctions against Tehran.
Iranian state television released at night a video showing panicked passengers screaming during what appeared to be an attempt by the Iranian “Mahan Air” plane to avoid a war plane during a flight between Tehran and Beirut.
According to the television, “the pilot of the commercial plane suddenly reduced the altitude to avoid collision with the fighter and injured several passengers”.
The tape shows several injured passengers.
There was blood on one of their foreheads while the other was lying on the ground.
One combat aircraft appears to be flying at close range.
According to the official IRNA news agency, the leaders of two “warplanes”, not one, “presented themselves as Americans” during a conversation with the Mahan Air plane team.
Iran initially accused Israel of trying to intercept the Iranian plane, which landed without problems in Beirut, but the Tehran authorities later pointed the finger at the United States.