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Iran vows to lodge complaint against US fighter jets for 'harassment' of passenger plane

Xinhua | Updated: 2020-07-25 06:25
A worker pushes luggage outside Beirut international airport on its re-opening day following the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Beirut, Lebanon July 1, 2020. [Photo/Agencies]

Iran will lodge a complaint with the International Civil Aviation Organization over "harassment" of its passenger plane by two US fighter jets over the Syrian airspace.

TEHRAN - The Civil Aviation Organization of Iran announced on Friday that it will lodge a complaint with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) over "harassment" of its passenger plane by two US fighter jets over the Syrian airspace on Thursday.

In a statement, the Civil Aviation Organization of Iran urged the ICAO to immediately address the issue, which, it said, is "a clear violation of the international law and the aviation standards and regulations," Press TV reported.

On Thursday evening, two US fighter jets came close to an Iranian Beirut-bound passenger plane over Syrian airspace, which forced the pilot of Iran's Mahan Air to change altitude to avoid collision, according to Iran's state TV.

The Iranian plane had to dive and make a quick landing at the Beirut airport after US warplanes blocked its passage, it said.

The Mahan Air aircraft, with over 150 passengers on board, was later landed safely in the Lebanese capital, but the incident caused the injury of several passengers, Iran's state TV reported.

The plane flew back to Tehran after refuelling.

Iranian Vice-President for Legal Affairs Laya Joneidi said on Friday that the "harassment of the passenger plane in a third country is a blatant violation of aviation security, and a breach of the freedom of the air for civil flights."

The US government is responsible for the fighter jets' dangerous maneuvering, and Iran can legally pursue the issue at the ICAO and at the International Court of Justice, Joneidi was quoted as saying by Press TV.

Also, Iran's Minister of Roads and Urban Development Mohammad Eslami described the US jets' move as an "act of terrorism."

"Our passenger plane was moving at the international commercial flight route and corridor, and the American fighter jets' threatening move was unlawful and inhumane," said Eslami.

"The ICAO is expected to issue a statement against this inhumane move by the United States," the Iranian minister said.

Besides, the Iranian Foreign Ministry announced that Iran will "take necessary political and legal measures" over the incident.

The incident is the first of its kind in Syria but it adds to the tensions between the US and Iran, which have soared since 2018 when the US President Donald Trump pulled Washington out of the landmark Iranian nuclear deal and reimposed unilateral sanctions against the energy and financial sectors of the Islamic republic.

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