Nour news that is deemed close to Iran's Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) quoted an unnamed official as denying the CENTCOM spokesman’s announcement that the US fighters had intercepted Iranian civil airliner in the Syrian space adjacent to al-Tanf base, adding that the interception had taken place in the Lebanese space while the passenger plane was reducing altitude to get ready for landing at Beirut airport.
“The Mahan Air Airbus pilot which was flying in the specified international corridor and flight path had warned the US fighter jets several times to distance from the passenger plane, but after the American fighters’ inattention to the warnings and persisting in dangerous maneuvers near Mahan airliner, the pilot, according to the flight instructions, has reduced altitude to escape the dangerous situation,” he added.
Two US fighter jets approached a Mahan Air Tehran-Beirut flight over the Syrian sky in a highly risky move and the captain of the Iranian passenger plane was forced to make a sudden change of direction and altitude, causing several injuries.
The captain of Mahan Air Flight No. 1152 later said the pilots of the two hostile planes have identified themselves as US army pilots during a radio contact.
Iran's Mahan Airline in a statement on Friday announced that it plans to take legal and judiciary action against the US army after its fighter jets threatened Tehran-Beirut passenger jetliner in the skies of Syria on Thursday that ended up in several injuries.
"The Mahan Airline will launch legal and judicial pursuit into the threat against the Tehran-Beirut passenger plane," the airline said in its statement sent to FNA.
"Last night Tehran-Beirut Flight No. 1152 of Mahan Airline was threatened by two US fighter jets after two hours of flying over Syria and the pilot skillfully and in accordance with aviation regulations and laws began reducing the plane's altitude in order to avoid any possible risk and after receiving TCAS warning for immediate reduction of altitude," Mahan statement said.
Explaining further about the incident, it said since the plane was in a stable condition and the passengers were allowed to loosen their seat belts, the rapid reduction of altitude and speed to avoid possible risks resulted in injury of some passengers and crew who were transferred to hospital for treatement immediately after landing in Beirut.
The Mahan Airline added that since it is for over ten years now that the Tehran-Beirut flight route has been in operation by the airline, the Flight No 1152 was flying on a scheduled path and through its specified corridor, reiterating that it has always been operating in full compliance with aviation rules and regulations in all flights, and the incident has, hence, been yet another instance of evading rule of law by the ruling regime in the US.
"It is evident that as the officials of the Islamic Republic and the Civil Aviation Organization of Iran (CAOI) have declared, the needed judicial and legal measures will be taken in this regard," it stressed.
A video posted by a reporter of Iran's state-run TV who was aboard the plane showed an F-15 fighter jet from the window of the plane and comments from a passenger who had blood on his face.
In a later interview from Beirut, the reporter said three passengers have been wounded during "the US planes' intentional move".
Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Seyed Abbas Mousavi said Iran's Ambassador to the UN Majid Takht-Ravanchi has informed the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres of the incident, and warned that "in case of any incident for this plane on the way back home, the Islamic Republic of Iran will take the United States reponsible".
"A similar message has been sent to the Swiss ambassador to Tehran," the spokesman added. The Swiss embassy hosts the US interests section in Iran in absence of formal diplomatic ties between the two countries.
Mahan Air told FNA later that several passengers have been wounded during the incident and have been taken to a hospital in Beirut and others have evacuated the plane sound and safe.
It said the passenger jetliner refueled to fly back to Iran.
The jetliner flew back home early Friday morning.
Minister of Road and Urban Development Mohammad Eslami said threatening of Iran’s passenger plane by US fighter jets is a terrorist move, and added that CAOI has filed a complaint at the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).
Speaking to FNA on Friday about the hostile move of the US fighter jets against the Iranian Mahan Airbus late on Thursday, Eslami said, “This is a terrorist act which has been carried out by the US lawless and oppressive government. This is considered an international aggression typical of the lawless American government.”
The Civil Aviation Organization of Iran called for urgent investigation by ICAO into the threat posed by the US fighter jets to the Iranian passenger plane.
"Iran considers the US fighter jets' threats as blatant instance of the violation of international law, regulations and aviation standards," the CAOI wrote in a communique on Friday.
Iranian Vice President for Legal Affairs Laya Joneidi also said disturbing a passenger plane is equal to the violation of indispensable international rules and regulations.
Causing of disturbance for a passenger plane amounts to violation of the inalienable principles of international rules, Joneidi wrote in a note on Friday.
“The behavior of the fighter jets against Flight No. 1152 of Mahan Air and creating trouble for the passenger plane, and that in a third country’s soil [airspace], is in flagrant violation of aviation security and infringing the principle of freedom of flight for civil planes,” she said, and noted, “Furthermore, it is in contrast to article 3 and article 44 of Chicago Convention, the relevant appendices and Montreal 1971 Convention."
Joneindi underlined that the explanations presented by the US are unjustifiable and unconvincing; thus, “the measures taken by these fighters have caused international responsibility for their government and is liable to legal prosecution, including at the ICAO and International Court of Tribunal.”