Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 4 October 2015

Iran: intruding jet belonged to Nato not United States

Published 08/10/2008

A jet that violated Iranian airspace and was forced to land at an airport in Iran belonged to Nato, Iranian TV has reported.

Iran's media claims the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (Nato) Falcon jet, carrying military personnel from various nations including Hungary, was heading to Nato bases in Afghanistan.

The plane reportedly took off from Turkey and then strayed into Iranian air space on September 30.

Iranian fighter jets escorted the aircraft to Tehran's Mehrabad airport and forced it to land, the report said.

After interrogation of the Nato personnel it was determined that the aircraft did not enter Iran intentionally and was allowed to leave for its original destination.

According to Press TV, a number of governments, including Hungry, have apologized to Iran's government for the incident.

Iran's semi-official Fars News Agency said on Tuesday that the plane was a US jet.

“The US jet was flying at low altitude in a bid to remain unnoticed by Iranian radars, but it was made to touch down at an Iranian airport escorted by Air Force fighter jets,” the Fars report said.

However moments later Iranian state television channel, Al Alam, said that the plane “was not a military plane and did not belong to the United States.”

It said the crew and passengers, identified as five members of the military and three civilians, were released “after daylong interrogations revealed that they had violated Iranian airspace unintentionally as they were en route to Afghanistan.”

The US Air Force said no US aircraft had been forced downed. “All US aircraft supporting operations in Afghanistan and Iraq are accounted for,” the air force said in a statement.

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