Plane crashes in Iran – consequences of international isolation

Plane crashes in Iran – consequences of international isolation

Azerbaijan, Baku, Jan. 12 /Trend, T.Konyayeva/

The plane crashes taking place in Iran over the recent years are the result of international isolation and sanctions imposed against the country, experts say.

"A number of serious accidents that have occurred in the air transport of Iran indicate that achieving a high level of safety is impossible in conditions of international isolation," editor-in-chief of the AviaPort Agency Oleg Panteleyev told Trend by e-mail.

The aircraft Boeing-727 of Iran Air, en route from Tehran to the Urmia city made an emergency landing and crashed due to unknown reasons.

Transport Minister of Iran connections Hamid Behbehani said that the cause of the crash was bad weather conditions and lack of visibility.

About 77 people died, while 26 people were injured. Seven of the 12 crew members died, while five were wounded.

Lack of ability to update the air fleet, a shortage of qualified personnel, problems with maintaining the airworthiness of aircrafts are an inevitable consequence of the situation that prevailed as a result of U.S. economic sanctions against the country, said Panteleyev.

Before the Islamic revolution, Iran's commercial air fleet consisted of Boeing made in the U.S. and French Airbus, while Iran Air was considered the second for security level of air carrier in the world.

After the appearance of a diplomatic crisis between Iran and the U.S. in November 1979 when a group of students - active supporters of the Islamic Revolution in Iran - seized the U.S. embassy in Tehran, Washington imposed embargo on selling to Iran the new U.S. aircrafts and spare parts. The ban forbiddened sell to Iran the aircraft, with at least 10 percent of U.S. production.

Imposed embargo led to a significant decay of the Iranian commercial aircraft fleet, because of the lack of spare parts, they are not maintained properly. Iran is forced to buy second-hand American aircrafts from other countries, as well as aircraft Tupolev from Russia.

According to Panteleyev, after a series of accidents with aircrafts of Soviet production, the Iranian authorities were quick to refuse the operation of Tupolev aircrafts and other cars made in Russia.

"But the recent accident shows that the planes of American manufacturing are subject to the same problems, he said. - Obsolete navigation equipment increases the risk of errors during landing, especially in bad weather conditions."

In July 2010 the European Aviation Security Regulatory Committee banned flights of two-thirds of the airliners of Iran Air in the airspace of the European Union. The ban extended to company's all airliners Airbus-320, Boeing-727 and Boeing-747.

Part of the Iran Air aircrafts was included by the EU aeronautical authorities in the so-called black list of unreliable in March 2010.

Fleet of Iran's civil aviation consists mainly of aircrafts produced in the U.S. and Russia, in addition, there are several aircrafts made in Europe. Age of the American aircrafts, including Boeing 727, crashed last Sunday, is more than 35-40 years.

According to Professor Reza Taghizadeh, because of the U.S.-imposed an embargo, Iran in the course of last 15 years has mainly turned to Russian made aircraft, but the safety record of the Russian made passenger aircrafts has not been any better than Iran's US made old airplanes .

"Therefore number of air accidents in Iran over the past few years has sharply increased," Taghizadeh, a member of Trend Expert Council, wrote in an e-mail to Trend.

According to him, due to mechanical problems of Iran's aging air passenger carriers, there are almost daily flight complications in ever domestic routes, forcing airplanes to either have emergency landing or return to its base without reaching their destinations.

"So far as the US sanctions against Iran are still in place, there is no way to prevent similar fatal air accident from happening during Iranian passenger flights. The reaming solution would be to decommissioning all aging passenger carries in Iran and using foreign airlines instead," Taghizadeh said.

On Feb. 12, 2002 airliner Tu-154 belonging to Iranian airline crashed. All 119 people on board were killed.

On Feb. 19, 2003, IL-76 crashed in the south-east Iran, which killed 276 soldiers and crew members.

In Jan. 2010 a TU-154 airplane steered by Russian crew crashed at the airport of the Iranian city of Meshhed, leaving 46 passengers injured.

On July 24, 2009, an IL-62 crashed in Iran leaving 16 dead, including 13 crew members. The plane went beyond the runway and collided with a concrete barrier.

On July 5, 2009, a TU-154 airplane en route from Tehran to Yerevan crashed in the suburbs of the Iranian city of Kazvin. All 168 people on board the plane died.

Also on Thursday August 26, a Fokker 100 airliner en route to Tabriz from Tehran lost control just after landing and plunged into a nearby canal.

According to the "Safety of Flights" Advisory and Analytical Agency, over the past ten years, 14 aircraft failures occurred in Iranian civil and military aviation, resulting in human casualties.

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