Iranian Cmdr.:

We too could have downed US military charter

News ID: 2981749 -
TEHRAN, Nov. 28 (MNA) – An Iranian Air Defense commander says Iran had a right to shoot down the US military charter aircraft violating the country’s airspace in September 2014, but one must always avoid rushed decisions.

“When an aircraft, fighter or civilian, violates a country’s airspace, the first measure to take is not to shoot it down. To maintain peace and security in the region one must not use the last resort as the first option,” Iran’s Commander of Khatam al-Anbiya Air Defense Base Brigadier General Farzad Esmaeili said on Saturday.

The commander’s remarks came in reference to the recent shooting down of a Russian jet fighter by Turkish military which has escalated heated tension between the two countries to unprecedented levels.

“The violation of Turkey’s airspace has not been proved yet and NATO and Russia are currently probing into this matter,” he said.

He went on to say that while NATO believes the violation had taken place, Russia has based its argument on satellite images which reportedly disproves the violation.

“The Islamic Republic forced the military charter plane with 108 NATO military personnel onboard to land in Bandar Abbas; although we had every right to shoot it down since it had obviously violated Iran’s airspace,” he said.

Esmaeili was making reference to a September flight into Iranian airspace by the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) last year, the NATO-led security mission in Afghanistan, which was ordered by Iranian officials to land in the country’s southern port city of Bandar Abbas when told it did not have enough fuel to return to Afghanistan. 

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has invited Russia and Turkey to exercise self-restraint in regard to the downing of the Russian jet fighter, urging the two countries to take precautionary measures and show the required patience in order to prevent such incidents from happening again.

Russia has suspended the visa exemption regime with Turkey, as another measure to respond to the downing of a military plane in Syria.

 

MS/2981589

 

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