The two men travelling on stolen passports on the Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 that mysteriously disappeared on Saturday have been identified as Iranian nationals, The Telegraph reported.
A BBC Persian report quotes an Iranian friend of one of the men, who said he hosted the pair in Kuala Lumpur after they arrived from Tehran in the days preceding their flight to Beijing.
The friend, who knew one of the men from his school days in Iran, said the men had bought the fake passports because they wanted to migrate to Europe.
The pair were travelling on passports belonging to Christian Kozel, an 30-year-old Austrian, and Luigi Maraldi, a 37-year-old Italian.
They had bought the passports in Kuala Lumpur as well as tickets to Amsterdam, via Beijing.
One of the Iranian nationals' intended final destination was Frankfurt, where his mother lives, while the other wanted to travel to Denmark.
The same source that spoke to BBC Persian also emailed CNN with a photograph of him posing with his two friends in the days before they embarked on their fateful trip.
An editor at BBC Persian told The Telegraph that the two Iranians were "looking for a place to settle".
Both Malaysia and neighbouring Thailand, where the passports were originally stolen, host large and established Iranian communities.
US-led sanctions on Iran have plagued the economy and encouraged many young Iranians, who face high unemployment, to seek ways to travel to Europe, North America or Australia - legally or illegally.