Iranian commander says military forces behind landing of chartered aircraft
Baku, Azerbaijan, Sept.8
By Fatih Karimov - Trend: The commander of the Iranian Khatam-ol-Anbiya Air Defense Base says the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps and the Army has been involved in landing of a chartered aircraft carrying about 100 Americans from the U.S. airbase at Bagram, Afghanistan in Iran's southern city of Bandar Abbas.
Brigadier General Farzad Esmaeili said IRGC and Army fighters tracked the plane and forced it to land, Iran's ISNA news agency reported on Sept.8.
Managing director of Iran's Airport Company Mohammad Ilkhani said Sept. 6 that the information provided about the air craft's flight plan was false, so Iran asked the plane to land to verify the information, Iran's Farsnews agency reported.
"We asked the plane to land in order to ensure that there was no problem with it," Ilkhani explained.
The type of plane which entered Iran's air space was different from the earlier declared information, he said, adding "due to inconsistencies in the provided information we asked the pilot to make landing in Bandar Abbas airport."
Reuters quoted a U.S. official saying the plane had failed to update its flight plan after leaving Bagram forDubai several hours late.
When Iranian civil aviation officials identified the plane, they could not find it in their system because it was supposed to have flown through hours earlier, the official said.
Iranian officials first asked it to turn around and then to land at Bandar Abbas when told it did not have enough fuel to return to Afghanistan, the official said.
The incident occurred last night around 19:30 local time (GMT +4:30 hours), Ilkhani said, adding that the air plane left Bandar Abbas for Dubaiafter the problem was resolved.
The plane belongs to "Fly Dubai" company and was rented by theAfghanistan coalition forces, the western media outlets reported Sept. 5.
"No Iranian jets were scrambled in this situation," said the U.S. State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf regarding a statement that the plane had landed in Dubai, which is contrary to some media reports.
Edited by CN