U.S. must be held accountable for threatening Iranian passenger plane: Syria

July 25, 2020 - 13:54

TEHRAN — Syria’s permanent representative to the United Nations has said that the United States must be held accountable for threatening the Iranian passenger plane.

“If we don’t call them accountable [for] this act, they will repeat it again,” IRNA quoted Bashar al-Jaafari as saying on Saturday.

On the U.S. presence in Syria and Washington’s claim that it is fighting the terrorists in the war-torn country, Jaafari said the presence of U.S. forces in Syria is “an illegal occupation”.

“It is not a presence, it is an occupation” in accordance with international law, the ambassador added.

On Thursday night, U.S. warplanes operating illegally in Syria conducted aggressive maneuvering close to an Iranian Mahan Air flight over Syria’s al-Tanf region. 

Mahan Air’s Flight 1152 had taken off from Tehran and was en route to the Lebanese capital, Beirut when the incident happened.

Iran said harassing a passenger plane is a violation of the principles of international law.

“The harassment of the Iranian passenger plane by U.S. warplanes constitutes a clear violation of international law as well as aviation standards and regulations,” Iran Civil Aviation Organization said in a statement.

It also urged the ICAO to look into the issue as soon as possible.

In his remarks, Jaafari said that all U.S. acts, which include jeopardizing safety of civil airliners or jeopardizing the safety of the Syrian people or helping the terrorists expand their acts through the Syrian territory, are illegal and should be condemned.

He further said, “Condemnation actually is a legal term but it is not enough to qualify exactly the aggressive act represented by the American occupation of part of Syrian territory.”

“Here we can understand much better what they did yesterday to the Iranian civilian airliner of Mahan Air company,” he said, describing such act as “the American aggressive policy towards the Iranian civilian airliner.”

“This act was a double criminal act” that was not done accidentally, he said, adding rather it was due to “cowboy mentality” of the United States.

The ambassador stressed, “It wasn’t only addressed towards violating the Syrian sovereignty, but it was also jeopardizing the safety of civilian airlines crossing the Syrian airspace.”

“This act number one was violation of international law, violation of the Chicago Convention” to which the United States is an integrated party, the Syrian envoy noted.

The Chicago Convention, a convention on International Civil Aviation signed by 54 states at Chicago on December 7, 1944, was established to promote cooperation and “create and preserve friendship and understanding among the nations and peoples of the world,” according to ICAO.

“They didn’t even respect their own commitments towards the safety of the civilian airlines,” he said while referring to the Chicago Convention signed in the United States.

“This is not the first time that they are threatening the safety of the Iranian passengers,” he said, pointing to the year of 1988 when they [American forces] shot down the Iranian passenger plane over the Persian Gulf and killed 290.

The Syrian envoy stressed that incidents should not be forgotten, because “If we don’t hold them accountable to this act, they will repeat it.”

He appreciated the speech made by Iran’s Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations Majid Takht-Ravanchi to the UN Security Council on Thursday for describing the U.S. unilateral sanctions against the Syrian people as “shameful”.

Jaafari thanked Iran for stressing that all foreign forces whose presence is not permitted by the Syrian government must leave the Syrian territory.

MH/PA

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