Home / Analysis / American-Style Retaliation: US Jets Intercept Iranian Civil Airliner

American-Style Retaliation: US Jets Intercept Iranian Civil Airliner

Alwaght– As a follow-up to its illegal and terrorist actions on the global stage, the US on Tuesday night sent two f-15 fighter jets from Al-Tanf military base to harass an Iranian passenger plane en route to Lebanon over Syria. 

When the jets flew close to the plane, the pilot had to reduce the speed and altitude suddenly to avoid a collision, leaving some passengers injured. 

The flight, heading from Tehran to Beirut, was first implied to have been harassed by Israeli fighter jets. However, shortly later the US in reaction said that it claims the responsibility for the hostile action. 

The illegal action against the Iranian Mahan flight 1152 should be deemed a big scandal for Washington, apparently aimed at misleading the Syrian air defenses into shooting down a civil airliner in a bid to reverse the American defeats received from the Iran-led Axis of Resistance on the various regional fronts. 

Although the Americans claimed to have respected the international laws and safe distance in their maneuvering near the civil flight, what is clear is that violation of aviation regulations by the Americans was obvious, allowing Iran to sue the US in the international organizations like the United Nations Security Council for the very dangerous play with the life of the civilians. 

All in all, the move as an Iranian official said should be definitely marked as breaching the aviation rules and the freedom of flight of civil planes. It also violates articles 3 and 44 of the Chicago Convention on International Civil Aviation and its supplements agreed upon in the 1971 Montreal Convention for Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Civil Aviation. 

Ridiculous justification of keeping a safe distance 

The action against the Iranian passenger plane drew reaction from the Americans. A US statement said that the fighter jet that beleaguered the Mahan Air passenger plane was American. Capitan Ben Urben, the commander of the US Central Command (CENTCOM), stated in a Twitter message that “A US f-15 on a routine air mission in the vicinity of CJTF-OIR At Tanaf garrison in Syria conducted a standard visual inspection of a Mahan Air passenger airplane at a safe distance of approximately 1,000 meters from the airliner this evening. 

“Once the F-15 pilot identified the aircraft as a Mahan Air passenger plane, the F-15 safely opened distance from the aircraft. The professional intercept was conducted in accordance with international standards,” the CENTCOM commander continued. 

Irian strongly condemns the dangerous American action 

The risky action of the US fighter jets on Thursday against the civil airliner over Syria drew strong reactions inside Iran. Mohamad Javad Zarif in a tweet said: “The US illegally occupies the territory of another state and then harasses a scheduled civil flight— endangering innocent civilian passengers— ostensibly to protect its occupation forces. Audacity to compound lawlessness upon lawlessness. These outlaws must be stopped before disaster.” 

Also reacting to the American military harassment, Sayed Abbas Mousavi, the spokesman to the Iranian foreign ministry, said that the details are being addressed and once the information is complete, Tehran will take political and legal actions against Washington. 

Also in a related stance, Iran’s UN envoy Majid Takht-Ravanchi in a conversation with the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres asserted that in case of an incident for the airplane during its return to Iran, the Islamic Republic will hold the US responsible. The same message was also sent to the Swiss ambassador to Iran as the representative of the US interests in Iran. 

Hessamuddin Ashena, the Iranian president aide, also condemned the illegal maneuvering near the Iranian passenger plane saying in a Twitter message that “whoever likes its leaders’ life should not mess with our passengers’ life.” 

Reza Nasiri, an international lawyer from Iran posted on Twitter that “two years ago the US and Israeli lobbies started a very calculated physiological campaign against Mahan Air so that by implying that this airline’s main function is military and so it can be a legitimate target the can pressure Iran. Today they are using their two-year-old campaign. 

La’aia Junaidi, the legal advisor to the Iranian president, made it clear that the behavior of the US military aircraft towards the Iranian Mahan flight 1152 and harassment for a civil airliner in a third-party country was a clear violation of aviation security standards and the principle of freedom of flight of civil airplanes. 

“It breached the aviation rules, the freedom of flight of civil planes. It also violates articles 3 and 44 of the Chicago Convention on International Civil Aviation and its supplements agreed upon in the 1971 Montreal Convention for Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Civil Aviation,” she said. 

The need for the Security Council to respond to the US dangerous move 

Following the incident, Tehran said it plans to refer the hostile action of endangering the lives of the civilians on board its plane to the UN Security Council. The Iranian mission to the UN is expected to soon send a letter to the Security Council and the UN Secretary-General about the US action. 

In a phone conversation with the UN chief, Takht-Ravanchi told Guterres that Tehran would hold accountable the US for any incident for the plane while it makes a return flight to Tehran. The expected letter to the UN would contain details of the incident and an official complaint. It will be delivered to the Security Council and Guterres to be recorded as a document of the US endangerment of a civil flight. 

Hamas and Islamic Jihad condemn the civil plane interception 

In addition to condemnations inside Iran, there was the censure of the US action in the region. Hamas and Islamic Jihad of Palestine in statements slammed the “illegal action” of the US against a civil plane. Al-Mayadeen news network reported that the Hamas statement read that the Palestinian movement “strongly condemns” the harassment of the Iranian plane and endangerment of the life of the civilians by the US warplanes. 

“We should set aside all of the differences and unite. The American jets’ endangerment of the Iranian passenger plane is unacceptable and is characteristic of gangster logic.” 

Islamic Jihad was another regional party to censure the US aggressive move. “The move of terrorist harassment of the Iranian airplane is strongly condemned. This terrorist action discloses the US hostile actions and this country’s role in threats to regional security. 

International media focus on the US illegal action 

International media massively covered the US interception of the Iranian passenger plane that had onboard passengers flying from Tehran to Beirut. Many of them covered the Iranian passengers’ remarks and the US officials’ statements. 

CNN reported that after the Iranian state media published a video showing injured passengers aboard the plane, the US military had to react by saying that the air force jets buzzed an Iranian commercial flight over Syria for “visual inspection.” 

Aljazeera, citing Iranian news outlets, reported that a number of the passengers were injured as the pilot had to suddenly reduce the speed and altitude of the plane to steer clear of a potential collision but the US said that safe distance was kept with Mahan airplane. 

Reuters questioned the Iranian narrative, naively asking how a passenger’s head could hit the plane ceiling upon the sudden altitude change. It continued that another man who was old was lying on the floor with his head bloody. 

Jerusalem Post dismissed that the jets were Israeli, reporting that after initial reports said that the intercepting jets were Israeli, the Iranian IRNA news agency, citing the plane pilot, reported that during midair contact the jets identified themselves as American. 

The Independent website in coverage of the incident said that an F-15 neared an Iranian passenger plane in the Syrian sky, terrorizing the passengers and injuring some as it forced an abrupt attitude shift. 

Finally, it should be remembered that the history of the US intervention and aggression across the world is full of records of targeting civilians and crimes against humanity. This is simply observable in the Syrian war frequently by the US forces who were deployed to the war-torn Arab country uninvited. So far, the UN and international rights groups published various reports about the US fighter jets’ war crimes during the Raqqa capture campaign. Experts agree that the latest aggressive action by the US in Syria gives away the impasse Washington is facing in its Syria policy and represents Washington’s hostility to reverse its losses on the ground by directly targeting the civilians.

Check Also

Grand Mufti of Damascus Killed in Terrorist Attack

Mufti Mohammed Adnan Afiouni lost his life in a terrorist attack, the Syrian Awqaf Ministry ...