VP for Legal Affairs: Harassment of passenger planes means violation of international laws

FNA – Disturbing a passenger plane is equal to the violation of indispensable international rules and regulations, Iranian Vice President for Legal Affairs Laya Joneidi said after two US army fighter jets came close to an Iranian passenger plane over the Syrian airspace, forcing the pilot to make a sudden change of direction and altitude to avoid a collision.

Causing of disturbance for a passenger plane amounts to violation of the inalienable principles of international rules, Joneidi wrote in a note on the recent hostile move of two American fighter jets against an Iranian Airbus on Thursday.

“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.”

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.

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.

The Civil Aviation Organization of Iran (CAOI) called for urgent investigation by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) into the threats posed by the US fighter jets against the Iranian Mahan passenger plane over the Syrian skies.

“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.

After the threats by the US fighter jets on Mahan Airline’s Flight 1152 over the Syrian skies on Thursday (July 23) and in international air corridors which was flying from Tehran’s Imam Khomeini Airport to Beirut some passengers were injured as a result of reaction by Mahan Airline pilot in order to avoid collision with hostile fighter jets, parts of the communique said.

It added that after the Mahan passenger plane landed at Beirut International Airport and after ensuring that the threatened plane was in good shape and condition, the decision for return of the plane was taken.

“The Civil Aviation Organization of Iran on the basis of the contents of the appendix 13 of Chicago Treaty while contacting the Syrian side has called for swift and precise investigation into the incident and the technical team of Iran has started technical investigation after the plane landed at Imam Khomeini International Airport. The details of this incident will be released after studying all technical data and information in accordance with investigating the incident and also some documented and compelling information given by the Syrian aviation offiial,” it added.

The Civil Aviation Organization of Iran considers the US fighter jets attempt to threaten the Iranian passenger plane as an instance of the blatant violation of international law, as well as aviation regulations and standards and it officially presents its serious protest to ICAO and calls for immediate probe into the matter.

Also, 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 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.”

“Our passenger plane has been flying in the international commercial trajectory and corridor and the threat of the US fighters was illegal and inhumane,” he added.

Iran’s Civil Aviation Organization has presented its protest against this conduct to the ICAO and we will pursue the issue legally till convicting the United States.

The minister stressed that the ICAO is expected to issue a statement on this inhumane behavior of the US government.